Tofino’s municipal council celebrated outside council chambers after unanimously passing a motion to look into a restriction on single use items last week. From left. Coun. Al Anderson, Mayor Josie Osborne, Coun. Ray Thorogood, Surfrider Pacific Rim’s Michelle Hall, Coun. Duncan McMaster, Coun. Dorothy Baert, Coun. Cathy Thicke and Coun. Greg Blanchette. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Tofino working on bylaw to restrict single-use plastics

“I think that this community is ready for a couple of items to be regulated.”

Tofino’s municipal council has taken its first official step towards banning single-use plastics.

During their June 26 regular meeting, council unanimously passed a motion brought forward by mayor Josie Osborne that directs staff to prepare a “Single-Use Item Regulation Bylaw” to “regulate the use of items such as single-use shopping bags and plastic straws, with the aim to implement such a bylaw by January 1, 2019 and provide a six-month transition to enforcement beginning July 1, 2019.”

Osborne suggested that, if and when it is adopted, the bylaw would remain open to amendments for various single-use items to be added as needed.

“The intention is not to ban everything right away or anything like that,” she said. “I think that this community is ready for a couple of items to be regulated.

She said she was grateful to the Surfrider Foundation’s Pacific Rim chapter for bringing clear awareness to the issue and added the chapter would provide an important educational voice throughout the bylaw’s creation and enforcement.

The chapter’s past-chair Michelle Hall was present at the meeting to watch the motion pass and was delighted to see it gain unanimous support.

“It’s really exciting and it’s a long time coming,” Hall told the Westerly News after the meeting. “It will mean that this community can help our visitors, businesses and everybody who lives here take care of our environment when it comes to the ocean and the beaches and really think about the plastic pollution that we’re faced with. We can all take part in reducing that plastic pollution and it feels good.”

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