West Van to seek municipal jurisdiction over single-use items

The District of West Vancouver is calling on the province for permission to regulate single-use plastic items.

Council voted during Monday’s meeting to send a formal request asking the province to enter into an agreement that would give the district and other municipalities that want it the option to regulate reducing and banning single-use items in their communities.

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“Essentially what we’re asking for is the power to take actions or at least contemplate it,” said Coun. Craig Cameron.

Several municipalities in B.C. – including Victoria, Squamish, Salmon Arm, Tofino and Qualicum Beach – have recently taken actions, or are in the process of taking actions, to restrict single-use items. However, Metro Vancouver has taken the position that it doesn’t have the jurisdiction to regulate municipalities’ use of single-use items, and under B.C.’s Community Charter a municipality technically can’t adopt a bylaw for the protection of the environment unless it’s in accordance with a provincial regulation.

B.C. has not taken action to restrict the use of single-use plastic items at the provincial level, though the federal government announced recently it plans to ban single-use plastics by 2021.

“Ultimately, if we are successful in convincing the province, this will be to the benefit of all municipalities in the province,” said Cameron.

The district will submit the request in the form of a resolution to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities for consideration at the upcoming UBCM convention.



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