• Trevor Greenway

Peace out, plastics

Denise Markhame wonders why plastic bags are still handed out at some La Pêche businesses.


The La Pêche Earth Day director told the Low Down that she has been scratching her head about why the municipality has not adopted its single-use plastic ban since it was tabled nearly three years ago.


“The Liberals gave us a ban that was supposed to come into place,” said Markhame, referring to the Trudeau government’s draft regulations to ban six kinds of “harmful” single-use plastic in Canada. The restrictions include banning rings, grocery bags, cutlery, and difficult-to-recycle takeout containers. straws and stir sticks, six-pack


While the Liberals said these rules could come into effect sometime in late 2022, La Pêche drafted its own resolution in 2019 to ban “plastic bags (except garbage and recycling bags), straws, utensils, plates, and skewers in the municipality.” The resolution called for La Pêche to strike an “Environment Committee” to draft the by-law.


But nearly three years later, plastic bags, straws, and other harmful plastics still reign in La Pêche. Markhame is launching a petition on Earth Day to push the municipality to “pull the trigger” on the plastic ban bylaw.


“What’s the good of celebrating if we’re not moving the dial?” said Markhame.

But other places have already moved that dial. Val-des-Monts is “ahead of the pack,” said Markhame. The municipality banned plastic bags in July 2021, with more restrictions coming this year. Montreal is also banning plastic bags in retail stores beginning this summer on Aug. 23. The ban is part of the city’s plan to reach zero waste by 2030.


Markhame doesn’t want La Pêche to wait for the Liberals. She’s hoping her petition will reignite the debate over single-use plastics in the Hills.


“That fire needs to be stirred again,” she said. “Can we move the dial by focusing on the most important things: EV cars, the plastic, plant-based food diets? These are all critical, and they need to move at the same time.”


While there won’t be an official Earth Day event on April 22, Markhame said this year’s celebration will coincide with the Wakefield Centre La Pêche’s 10th-anniversary celebration on May 7 (see story page 14).


She’s urging everyone to wake up on April 22 and sign the petition at the May 7 event or online.


“On Earth Day, do your Earth Day duty and sign a petition.” The petition can be accessed here: https://chng.it/sTVhJvJJ.


La Pêche Mayor Guillaume Lamoureux told the Low Down that he supports a plastic ban “in principle” but added that such a ban would be difficult to enforce. He said that La Pêche’s environment committee has yet to draft a bylaw, and he has no timeline on when it could happen.


“I think that for [a ban on single-use plastics] to work, it would have to be a federal law,” he said.