Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne says she believes residents are ‘more than ready’ to see plastic bags nixed from their community. (File photo)

Tofino mayor says plastic bag ban is inevitable

“For Tofino, moving towards banning single use plastic is not a case of ‘if,’ it’s just a case of ‘when.’”

Mayor Josie Osborne is confident that an eventual ban on plastic bags is inevitable in Tofino, but believes education must come before enforcement.

Tofino’s council received a presentation from Surfrider Pacific Rim members Michelle Hall and Laura Griffith-Cochrane on April 23 that spoke about the dangers plastic bags are posing to local ecosystems and wildlife and called for a community-wide ban.

Hall said she and Griffith-Cochrane brought roughly 6,642 pieces of litter collected during April 22’s Earth Day cleanup of Tofino’s Multi-Use Path, including 202 plastic bags and 264 soft plastics.

“The presentation was very well received,” said Osborne, who added council voiced “no opposition to the idea of undertaking the work to implement a bag ban.”

She added though the district’s staff are already under heavy workloads so council agreed to do some investigating themselves by reaching out to other municipalities that have experience with bag bans and gather some more information from Surfrider.

“I expect to see direction come from council within the next month or so,” she said. “This will give us the opportunity to thoughtfully discuss a disposable plastic bag ban, how it could be implemented and what alternatives to plastics are most appropriate, and how education and enforcement will occur.”

She said she believes most Tofitians are “more than ready” to see plastic bags nixed from their community and that locals should not view council’s reluctance to have their staff immediately begin working on a bag ban as evidence of hesitance.

“For starters, it’s important to recognize that a bylaw in and of itself does little. People don’t instantly follow a new rule without understanding why it’s being established, without education and understanding about why the rule is set,” she said. “The real heavy lifting is all the work Surfrider Pacific Rim has done, the education and helping people and businesses shift in their behaviour…I hope that implementing a plastic bag ban will be relatively straightforward, but it will still require outreach the few remanning businesses using them, as well as reaching community members who may feel taken by surprise.”

She added an eventual ban on plastic bags seems inevitable in the community as Canada in general is moving away from plastics.

“For Tofino, moving towards banning single use plastic is not a case of ‘if,’ it’s just a case of ‘when,’” she said. “We are ready for this. An oft-cited criticism of plastic bag bans is ‘Why focus on bags? It’s such a small part of the problem.’ That’s true, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. What is also true is that regulatory bans, accompanied by education, are helping to shift society from a disposable attitude to one that is more aware and thoughtful about the true cost and impact of single-use plastics.”

Just Posted

Tofino Jazz Festival returns this weekend

“The Festival’s main mission is to provide an opportunity to build community through music.”

Tofino Hatchery wraps up successful season

“If you give those things half a chance, they will go to the ‘nth degree’ to get up those rivers.”

Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News earns four national awards

The Westerly was announced as the recipient of four Canadian Community Newspaper Awards last week.

Culture provides authentic means to education for Ahousaht and Klemtu students

Tying lessons into a real-world scenario creates a more significant and community-based classroom

Tofino police believe alcohol was a factor in Thursday night car crash

The crash knocked out power to the community from 6:44-10:01 p.m

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Ginger Goodwin’s Cumberland cemetery grave desecrated

Just days before the Miners Memorial weekend, Ginger Goodwin’s grave has been… Continue reading

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read