Bridgewater town council met Monday night to discuss a proposed by-law prohibiting single-use plastic shopping bags.
The potential ban has been on council's radar for some time. Mayor David Mitchell says council has reviewed similar bans across Canada while waiting to see whether a provincial ban would be established. The ban would encompass the nine largest regional urban centres in the province.
"I'm never really a fan of saying the municipalities shouldn't do something because we should be waiting for the province. I think it's great that it's coming from the grassroots level of government," says Mitchell.
Besides environmental benefits, Mayor David Mitchell says the ban should positively impact local businesses.
"Plastic bags are a petroleum based product, so there's a greenhouse gas component to that, and if customers are using reusable bags then there is a cost savings for businesses," he says.
The bylaw would come into effect on Canada Day next year, carrying a fine of up to $2000 for a first offence.
The owner of Gow's Home Hardware isn't worried about a potential bag ban.
Amanda Fancy says her hardware store offers reusable shopping bags similar to those already available at many retail locations.
"We do have a lot of customers that come in and they actually don't utilize a plastic bag. We offer paper as well, so there are lots of options out there. ...It's been happening for some time [and] customers have been making the transition," she says.
In light of the environmental benefits from such a by-law, Fancy says she sees any accommodations on her part as a non-issue.
"Obviously if it's something that town council is passing, it's going to affect all of the businesses in town. Like I said, we'll kind of play it by ear and listen to the needs of our customers," she says.
Story by Erin MacInnis