Gibsons council’s committee of the whole has voted to recommend a new bylaw to regulate single-use items, such as plastic bags.
In 2018 council passed a motion to start work on a bylaw to ban “plastic bags, plastic straws and single-use items” modelled on similar bylaws in Tofino and Victoria.
But Victoria’s bylaw was overturned because the courts ruled the city was trying to impose an environmental regulation, which is strictly provincial and federal jurisdiction.
Victoria plans to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, but Gibsons chief administrative officer Emanuel Machado told the Oct. 1 committee meeting that the Town could go ahead now if it’s clear about its reasons for the bylaw.
“This is focused more on a business regulation around the waste associated with it and the local impacts on our landfill in particular,” said Machado.
A consultant’s report prepared by former councillor Silas White, an advocate of a plastic bag and straw ban during his time on council, suggested the same approach.
Coun. Annemarie De Andrade said given reports from the Sunshine Coast Regional District earlier this year showed the current landfill in Sechelt could reach capacity as early as 2025, the Town has a good case.
“We have strong evidence of capacity issues with our landfill… It’s so well documented going years back. We have the rationale,” she said.
A draft bylaw is expected to go to council later this month.
After receiving just one response in opposition during an Alternative Approval Process, Gibsons council has authorized taking out a $3.3-million loan to fund water main upgrades and other infrastructure needed to supply aquifer water to Zone 3, which includes most of upper Gibsons.
CAO Emanuel Machado said after a test well at Dougall Park proved inadequate, a well in the Oceanmount neighbourhood “has turned out to be our best well so far… It’s a very solid producer.”
With the loan approval in hand, work will begin on designing a pump house for the well and a licence from the province to draw water from the well.
After council approved some housekeeping amendments to the terms of reference at its Oct. 1 meeting, the Town of Gibsons is ready to recruit new youth councillors.
The changes to the terms of reference included setting the term of the youth councillors to run from September to June to match the school year.
Mayor Bill Beamish also said after discussions with School District No. 46 the Town will “emphasize to the students that school work is a priority not council work,” as “we don’t want to them to suffer from being on council or working with council.”