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Aug. 10, 2020 | Monday
Local News
Councillor wants town to go plastic-free
Plastic bottles, caps and foam have been the most picked up item at the annual Lake Ontario beach cleanup, said Ariel Archibald. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

The idea to introduce a ban on plastic in Niagara-on-the-Lake came to Coun. Norm Arsenault after a number of local students held a strike in March to draw attention to the issue of climate change.

Arsenault started researching the issue and came up with a three-part motion which he will propose at the next council meeting on May 13. He said he hopes the town staff will do more research and come back to council with a timeline and recommendations on how to best implement such a bylaw.

“I just want to get the ball rolling,” Arsenault said in a phone interview. “We need to get things moving. We need social leadership in this because climate change is happening. It’s all around us.”

The first part of the proposed bylaw would ban plastic straws, stir sticks and plastic utensils. They could be replaced easily, said Arsenault, who took part in the annual Lake Ontario beach cleanup last Saturday.

The second part of the motion would charge an environmental fee on plastic bags in retail operations.

Arsenault said he would also like to put an environmental fee on plastic bottles and coffee cups not only in NOTL but in other municipalities across Niagara Region as well so that the town wouldn’t be put at a disadvantage.

“I’m going to ask the Lord Mayor to try to get other municipalities involved and see if we can put an environmental fee on all these single-use plastic and single-use coffee cups,” Arsenault told The Lake Report.

He doesn't have an exact timeline for when a bylaw might come into effect as preparing a ban, holding open houses and talking to local business operators will take time. There was no “rush for it,” he said.