Esquimalt won’t be banning the plastic bag any time soon.
Instead council voted to wait and see how Victoria fares when the Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw the City approved in December takes effect this summer.
On Monday council narrowly passed a motion (4-3) that stated, “Once Victoria evaluates the effectiveness of its bylaw within one year of its implementation, Esquimalt will review options that encourage the reduction of single-use plastic bags and consider drafting a bylaw to that effect.”
The Township is among many local municipalities considering prohibiting businesses from supplying single-use plastic bags to customers. During discussions, councillors displayed mixed feelings around when and whether to implement a ban.
Coun. Lynda Hundleby voted against the motion over concerns that the time frame wasn’t sufficient to conduct an evaluation.
“I’m hearing pros and cons and I’m a little uncomfortable saying, ‘well, we’ll look at it after a year’,” she said.
Coun. Olga Liberchuk serves as a liaison to the environmental advisory committee and brought forth the motion.
“For me, it’s really important to look at different ways in which we can reduce our waste,” she said. “If we don’t put a timeline to it, it may never happen and that’s my worry.”
In a letter to Mayor Barb Desjardins dated Dec. 27, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps expressed her wish to have other municipalities in the region on board with the policy.
“We hear all the time about a desire for our residents and businesses to have ease as they move from municipality to municipality in our region,” Helps wrote. “Having one bylaw that is the same in each place will create cohesion and ease for our residents and our businesses.”
She also encouraged Esquimalt to use Victoria’s bylaw as a model for one of their own.