File photo of plastic bags.

Comox Valley residents, merchants honour plastics ban, despite court decision

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an application from the City of Victoria to appeal a decision by the B.C. Court of Appeal to quash its plastic bag ban.

READ: Victoria’s plastic-bag ban ended by Supreme Court of Canada

The decision could affect the City of Courtenay’s direction when it comes to single-use plastics.

In December, council approved a staff recommendation to not enforce a bylaw to regulate single-use plastics, pending the Supreme Court’s decision on the validity of Victoria’s bylaw, and/or the outcome of regulatory approaches proposed by senior governments.

The City of Courtenay is still reviewing the decision.

Last June, Comox council voted in favour of a bylaw to regulate the business use of single-use plastics.

“Globally, plastics are being frowned upon, and at the municipal level we were all trying to do our part,” Comox Mayor Russ Arnott said. “I believe our merchants will continue their role in reducing plastics by giving customers options for their bagging. I see many people using cloth bags now, and I believe that will gain momentum with or without a plastics bag ban.”

He notes that many restaurants are providing paper straws to customers.

“These are all steps in the right direction to remove single-use plastics away from our landfills and oceans,” Arnott said.

Cumberland also implemented a bylaw last year to ban single-use plastics.

“It’s disappointing the (court) decision was made in the negative,” Mayor Leslie Baird said. “We have not enforced our bylaw since then, and the businesses have still been complying. The residents and businesses want to see it happen.”

Because of the decision, Village staff will report back to council with different options.

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