By Tristan Marks
Its time for the Town of Lincoln to chuck single-use plastics for good, after a vote by council on Monday.
Council passed a motion to examine how the Town and its various departments can phase out the use of throw-away plastics such as straws, packaging and bottles.
The motion directed staff to return to council no later than July 1 with a report on how to implement such a change.
Coun. Paul MacPherson, who introduced the motion, said the Town needs to “take a leadership role” in starting “a discussion in the community” about eliminating single-use plastics on all levels by being the first to take action.
He also added that Lincoln would not be the first municipal government to do so.
Council was largely receptive to the idea.
“This is a really good step for us to take,” said Coun. Dianne Rintjema. “It’s time.”
However, some councillors, despite agreeing with the spirit of the motion, found issues with its logistics.
Most of the criticism was aimed at the motion’s original wording, that a ban be “implemented no later than July 1”.
“My concern is with the July 1 date and the stress we’d be putting on staff,” said Coun. Tony Brunet.
Coun. JD Pachereva and Mike Mikolic agreed and together with Brunet asked that the motion be amended to call for a report from staff by Canada Day rather than full implementation.
CAO Mike Kirkopoulos said he was “much more comfortable with an interim report by July 1.”
The motion’s author, MacPherson, agreed that would be a good course of action.
Pachereva also suggested that ‘bottles’ be removed from the list of single-use plastics specifically named in the motion.
“It can get pretty hot at Charles Daley park on Canada Day,” Pachereva said. “Are we going to stop giving bottled water to our staff when temperatures get high?”
He also pointed out that the town has many contracts with beverage and vending machine providers at its public venues like the Fleming Centre.
Coun. MacPherson took a firm stance against this suggestion, and countered that getting rid of ‘bottles’ from the list “will take a very important part of the motion away.”
Coun. Adam Russell supported MacPherson’s opinion, citing his experience once working for a beverage company.
“These companies won’t change without any pressure put on them,” said Russell. “Motions like this will put that pressure on them.”
Council carried the amended motion with none opposed. With this direction, staff will return to council with an interim report on implementing a ban on Town use of single-use plastics no later than July 1.