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RFD- 4213 Bylaws   Item #   10. a.    
Regular Council Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 02/22/2021  
Title:    C-1109-20 - Single-use Items Reduction Bylaw - Third Reading - Van Gaal
Presenter: Caitlin Van Gaal
Department: Planning & Infrastructure  
Strategic Vision Element: Where People Choose to Live - A dynamic city with an exceptional quality of life Related Goal: Citizens consistently express high levels of satisfaction with municipal services.

Information
Request for Decision Summary
Third reading of C-1109-20 - Single-use Items Reduction Bylaw is being brought forward for Council's consideration.  This Bylaw is a result of the recommendations from the Single-use Items Reduction Strategy.  This Bylaw has been developed with input from the public, subject matter experts and regional partners and serves as a means to reduce the amount of single-use items waste in Spruce Grove.
Proposed Motion
 
That third reading be given to Bylaw C-1109-20 - Single-use Items Reduction Bylaw, as amended.
Background/Analysis
On June 18, 2018, City Administration brought forward to the Committee of the Whole (COW) several proposed waste program changes to address the stagnation in waste diversion from the City’s residential waste collection program. One of the proposed waste program changes was to look at implementing a city-wide plastic retail bag and polystyrene serving tray ban. At the time, Council requested the inclusion of plastic straws into this initiative. Administration was instructed during the COW meeting to put this diversion strategy forward as a Corporate Plan Initiative for approval.
 
During the 2019 Corporate Planning process the Single-use Items Reduction Bylaw initiative ranked above the line and was included in the 2019 Corporate Plan.
 
During the first three quarters of 2019, Administration undertook a series of public engagement events to help support and develop the Single-use Items Reduction Strategy. The public engagement results were presented during the COW meeting on November 18, 2019.
 
The Strategy was developed based on the results of regional interviews, nationwide research and public engagement. The Strategy was presented to Council on November 25, 2019.  During this meeting, the strategy was received as information and Administration was directed to proceed with implementing a complete ban on the distribution of retail plastic bags, plastic straws, and polystyrene takeout containers/cups from retail and food establishments.
 
In May 2020, the City's Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) decided to delay bringing the Bylaw forward to the COW meeting from June to October as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  At the September 1, 2020 CLT meeting it was decided to further delay bringing the Bylaw forward to Council to allow businesses time to adequately adapt to the changes to their businesses as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Administration then reached out to a few of the impacted businesses to determine a feasible timeline for the introduction of the Bylaw.  The results of the additional engagement were presented to CLT on September 29, 2020 where it was decided to bring forward the proposed Single-use Items Reduction Bylaw to COW in January of 2021.

The contents of this Bylaw were developed in consultation and consideration of the regional direction as well as other Bylaws or Acts that have been successfully implemented across Canada.   The list of included items, exceptions and fees for alternatives and fines are consistent with the recommendations of the Retail Council of Canada, the Plastic Bag Reduction Act of Prince Edward Island (PEI) and the City of Vancouver's approach to plastic straws and polystyrene foam reduction. 

On January 18, 2021 the proposed C-1109-20 Single-use Items Reduction Bylaw was shared with the Committee of the Whole for discussion and consideration.  First reading for this Bylaw occured on January 25, 2021.

During second reading on February 8, 2021 Council requested that the language around the fees for alternative checkout bags be softened to allow business the flexibility to sell or hand out for free paper or reusable bags as part of promotional events.  Council also requested firmer language around the requirement of businesses to supply accessible plastic straw to customers who may require them.   The edits discussed during second reading have been redlined in the amended proposed C-1109-20 Single-Use Items Reduction Bylaw.
Options/Alternatives
This Bylaw is being brought forward for a third reading and incorporates Council's discussion at the second reading. Discussion and consideration of changes to the Bylaw may be made prior to third reading. Alternatively, Council may defeat the motion at third reading.
Consultation/Engagement
While the Strategy was being developed in 2019, City Administration engaged with industry experts, regional partners, Spruce Grove residents and business owners. This included:
  1. Industry Experts and Regional Partner Engagement:
  • Meetings with municipalities within the Edmonton Metro Region
  • Workshop hosted by the Recycling Council of Alberta
  • Joint Edmonton - Calgary region meeting on waste
  • Interviews with the Town of Devon and the Town of Wetaskiwin
  • Interview with Waste Free Edmonton
  • Interview with Environment and Climate Change Canada
  1. Public Engagement:
  • Workshop with businesses
  • Phone interviews with businesses
  • Online survey for businesses
  • Online survey for residents
  • Intercept survey for residents
 
The public was made aware of the opportunities to provide feedback through two letters sent to businesses about the workshop and the online survey. The City also sent out a City wide mail-out that asked residents to complete an online survey.
 
After compiling the data from the Strategy and developing the Bylaw, the following additional consultation was completed:
  • Review of Prince Edward Island Bag Ban Act
  • Review of City of Vancouver’s bag, polystyrene and straw bans
  • Meeting with the Retail Council of Canada
  • Bylaw review to ensure consistency with the Edmonton Metro Region Waste Advisory Committee – Technical Committee
  • Interview with City of Edmonton
  • Interview with Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Participation in a series of public engagement sessions for the Federal plastics reduction program
  • Internal Bylaw review by:
    • Corporate Communications
    • Economic and Business Development
    • Cultural Services
    • Planning and Development
    • FCSS and Social Planning
    • Enforcement Services
    • City Clerk’s Office
  • Legal review by Reynolds Mirth Richards & Farmer LLP
 
Additional engagement regarding the rollout timeline of the Bylaw took place between September 7 and 18, 2020.  Administration reached out to 10 locally owned businesses and was able to conduct interviews with five of the businesses.  The major themes that arose from these interviews were:
  • Most businesses have already started their transition in anticipation of this Bylaw, and at the desire of their younger staff members
  • Most understand the importance of this type of Bylaw and are willing to participate, but understand the struggle with timing as COVID-19 has the attention of the media
  • Restaurants have noticed an increase in take-out vs. dine-in service, and would need time to properly transition away from items addressed in the Bylaw
  • Most businesses would like to see a 10 -12 month transition period
  • Recommend waiting until January to introduce to allow people to settle into school and get through the holiday season

The Bylaw was also reviewed and discussed at the Committee of the Whole meeting on January 18, 2021 and again during second reading on February 8, 2021.  Input and considerations from Council have been included into the Bylaw.
Implementation/Communication
As a result of the engagement with the business community the following implementation timeline is being proposed:
  • February 22, 2021 – 3rd Reading
  • February 22 – December 31, 2021 – Transition Period
  • January 1, 2022 – Bylaw in effect
Administration also engaged Jackie Sargent Communications who developed a communication plan to help inform and create buy-in within the business community and the general public on the Bylaw. The communication plan will be rolled out in stages from first reading until successful implementation of the Bylaw.
Impacts
The potential approval of this Bylaw will ideally result in less waste being sent to landfill and a shift in the way consumers purchase goods in Spruce Grove. The intent is that through this Bylaw, we will not only reduce the number of single-use items being distributed within the City, but that greater awareness will be brought to the issue and residents will begin to adopt these practices in other aspects of their lives. Implementing these changes will also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the City's impact on the environment.

This Bylaw as it is proposed will serve as an early phase in to what is being proposed in the Federal plastics pollution program, resulting in less waste being sent to landfill or disposed of as litter over that time period.  The City's Bylaw also addresses some of the alternatives to the items that will be banned Federally.  Having a Bylaw in place that addresses the alternatives ensures that the problem is not transferred from one problem product to another.  The implementation of a fee for paper and reusable bags is an example of managing the alternatives to plastic checkout bags.
 
There was some opposition to this Bylaw during the public engagement process, although this viewpoint was in the minority, there may be additional efforts required to support and speak with these individuals throughout the transition.  The roll out of this Bylaw may also result in an increase in demand from businesses for curbside organics collection. This is listed as a priority in the Strategy that should be looked at moving forward.
Attachments
Proposed C-1109-20 - Single Use Items Reduction Bylaw - Clean Copy
Proposed C-1109-20 - Single Use Items Reduction Bylaw - Redline (Amendments from 2nd Reading)
Sing-Use Items Bylaw - Presentation

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