New Brunswick

Plastic-bag ban may come to Moncton area, even if rest of province isn't ready

The mayor of Dieppe says the his region is not prepared to wait for the province to act on banning single-use plastic bags. He hopes his city, along with Moncton and Riverview will have bylaws ready to take effect July 1, 2020.

Dieppe mayor says he hopes a bylaw will be in effect by July 2020

Dieppe Mayor Yvon Lapierre says a survey found a very high level of concern about single-use plastic bags. (CBC News file photo)

Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe are looking at banning single-use plastic bags by July 2020.

"At this point in time, we are not prepared to wait for the province," said Dieppe Mayor Yvon Lapierre.

The plan is to have a bylaw pass first and second reading by the end of May, said Lapierre, and be enacted in July. Enforcement would begin in July 2020.

That should give enough time for people to learn about the change and adapt to it, he said, and for stores to use their remaining bag inventories.

Ideally, Lapierre said, all three municipalities will follow the same timeline and use the same rules.

"It's the environmental impact. I mean, we see single-use plastic bags floating around everywhere. … It's just to get rid of them. If they don't exist we won't be using them."

Officials in Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview hope to see enforcement of a proposed ban on single-use plastic bags by July 2020. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Moncton Coun. Charles Leger said this is a Moncton initiative supported by both Dieppe and Riverview.

Leger said Moncton Coun. Pierre Boudreau made a presentation about the ban when representatives from the three communities met recently.

He said Boudreau previously introduced a motion about it at a Moncton public council meeting, which received unanimous support. 

A spokesperson for the Town of Riverview said it will bring a draft bylaw to council at an upcoming meeting, around the same time as Moncton and Dieppe, but the date has not been finalized.

Lapierre said he hopes his region will lead the province on this issue, as it did in other contentious matters, such as banning smoking in public places and allowing Sunday shopping.

The business community has indicated it isn't prepared to "lead the charge," citing a lack of demand from the public, he said.

However, in a recent survey 95 per cent of the 1,700 individuals who responded said they were "greatly or moderately" concerned about the environmental impact of plastic bags. Seventy-eight per cent were in favour of a ban on single-use plastic bags, 14 per cent were opposed, and eight per cent were undecided.

Sixty businesses also took part in the survey, and 91 per cent of them were concerned about the impact of plastic bags. Thirty-six per cent said there was no demand from customers for reusable plastic bags. 

Staff from the three communities and their household-refuse handler, Southeast Eco360, have been working on the issue for months.

Lapierre said the ban will be enforced by existing bylaw officers and rely on tips from the public.

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