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Talks Continue On Plastic Bag Ban

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For now, Woodstock City council will wait and see on what the Province and federal government decides to do on the ban of plastic bags.

WOODSTOCK - Woodstock City council will continue to support, in principle, the ban on plastic shopping bags.

Last night's meeting saw them defer a decision on implementing it until they hear more from both the federal and provincial government.

Deputy Mayor Jerry Acchione says it's a wait-and-see approach right now.

"I think everybody has kind of agreed on the principle, of course, that eventually single-use plastic bags are going to  the waist side. The problem is the Province is making so many changes on their end that we're a little worried that if we make some kind of changes, it'll kind of mess things up and there'll be a patch work all over Ontario. We are putting this out to all the other municipalities looking for more of a joint support because of the changes coming, possibly as soon as next year anyways. It just makes sense to kind of put it slightly on hold but want to make everybody know we are in support of this, in principle."

Deputy Mayor Acchione says it would benefit the environment.

"I would think more, litter-wise, getting the bags out of the environment that way litter-wise. There's a lot of debate on what's more eco-friendly to make versus these plastic bags, so there's a lot of debate that way. But absolutely from a litter perspective it's going to be far cleaner for the oceans and just our environment."

He adds there are bans already in other provinces and he believes it will eventually be in Ontario. 

Council even received support on the premise of the motion from the Retail Council of Canada (RCC). 

In a report created by staff, it says the RCC provided a comment to council following their meeting in August where they initially agreed on the ban in principle. 

The RCC is a non-for-profit organization, representing approximately two-thirds of core retail sales in Canada. They indicated that while they support the idea, they prefer the provincial government take action to provide a harmonized approach to banning the plastic shopping bags. 

Staff's report says council supports a harmonized ban on plastic bags across Ontario. 

If the ban were approved, it'd go into effect as early as in one year. 

Staff's report adds if council were to move forward with the ban, it's recommended that the date would be no earlier than July 1st, 2020. It'd allow time for industry and public consultation, plus to get into legal expertise in order to draft a necessary by-law for council's consideration. 

The report further states that staff pre-approved $5,000.00 in next year's revenue budget for the Woodstock Environment Advisory Committee to undertake a public education campaign to educate and encourage residents in the Friendly City to reduce the use and consumption of single-use plastic bags. 

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