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Plastics bylaw survives

In Orillia
Jun 15th, 2010

City politicians asked to rescind plastic bag bylaw
A motion to rescind the city’s plastic-bag bylaw was barely defeated Monday night.
Representatives with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and local industry asked that the bylaw be rescinded, saying it negatively impacted jobs and the industry as a whole.
Councillors Don Evans, Maurice McMillan and Joe Fecht and Mayor Ron Stevens voted against rescinding the bylaw. Coun. Ralph Cipolla abstained due to concerns of conflict of interest. The motions passed as a result of it being a tie vote.
“Why are we shutting our door to opportunity? I don’t agree that we should be sticking to our guns in the face of evidence and programs that exist,” said Coun. Michael Fogarty.
The CPIA was willing to work with the city to provide an educational program targeted at Grade 3 students that would address the recycling of plastic.
In light of the new information, Cipolla, who previously supported the bylaw, asked that it be referred to the waste management advisory committee for further information. That didn’t happen.
Bill Swinimer and Tim French were among those representing local industry, as founding members of Uniplast Industries Inc.
“At this moment, the industry does not feel welcome in Orillia,” French told councillors.
“From our perspective, the bag-fee bylaw is bad for Orillia, bad for the environment, and in particular, bad for jobs,” Swinimer said.
Not one local plastics manufacturer produces retail bags, he added, but “the rhetoric has appeared to us to be an attack on all plastics,” he said.
CPIA representatives said a knock to the reputation of the industry, even as a result of the actions of a single, smaller municipality, could have a significant impact on the industry — which employs nearly 11,000 people in the province.
“Any attack on plastics gives the industry a black eye. It sets a precedent for other municipalities that we would rather not see. It’s not necessary,” said Marion Axmith, director general with the CPIA. “The plastics industry can be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
In voting against rescinding the bylaw, Evans noted the city’s favourable record related to waste diversion and recycling.

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