Pratt talks plastics, highway

Members of Sechelt’s business community were asked to bring their ideas to the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) as local government considers banning single-use plastics.

“We don’t want to go into this and put an absolute ban on everything without speaking with you and without helping you move forward and helping find out what business practices do need to be changed,” said SCRD chair and Halfmoon Bay director Lori Pratt, who suggested a “stepped process” could be considered.

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Plastics was one of several topics the SCRD chair covered at a June 18 breakfast organized by the Sechelt and District Chamber of Commerce.

The SCRD isn’t the only local government considering a ban. Gibsons council recently toured the town’s commercial district to get feedback directly from business owners about barring single-use plastics. SCRD directors were expected to discuss the implications of a ban at a June 20 infrastructure committee meeting. 

Pratt answered several questions on other topics from those in attendance, including from Robin Merriott, one of the founders of the highway advocacy group SC101, which earlier this year petitioned the provincial government for a new highway on the Sunshine Coast. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena responded that current traffic volumes aren’t high enough to justify the cost to build one.

At the breakfast event, Merriott asked Pratt how they could move forward with advocacy at the provincial level given Trevena’s response.

Pratt, a supporter of the advocacy group, joked, “So, the question is, how do we improve goat trail 101?”

She then emphasized safety concerns should be used to lobby the province, as well as the economic benefits that come from building something new, such as an increase in tourism. “We need to look at it economically, but the big thing we have to focus on is the safety standpoint.”

In addition to the province, she also said both shíshálh Nation and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation will need to be included in discussions since proposed routes go through both Nations’ territories.

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