It is troubling that while local environmentalists are preparing for Earth Month events this weekend, a different contingent is complaining about environmentally friendly initiatives implemented by City of Powell River council.
As reported in last week’s Peak, at its meeting on Thursday, April 6, city council banned the sale of single-use plastic water bottles within civic facilities. This means no more bottled water will be sold at Powell River Recreation Complex and other city buildings.
Since the article ran, councillors who brought forward and voted in favour of the ban have received unfair criticism. Some people have even gone so far as to say the ban is part of individual councillors’ personal agendas.
Let’s make something perfectly clear: helping to reduce the amount of waste and strain on the environment is not a personal agenda. This is for all us, and exactly what Earth Hour, Earth Day, Earth Month, or even Earth Year, for those who monitor their waste every day, is all about.
Councillors who voted in favour of the plastic ban should be commended for their progressive thinking, not vilified.
Council also took heat for making the ban official before hearing a report from parks, recreation and culture director Ray Boogaards on bottled-water sales at city facilities. If the decision is based on reducing waste, then it should make no difference how many bottles of water are sold. The city already made the financial decision to install water-filling stations at the complex, so why not encourage their use instead?
If comments about the bottle-ban article are any indication, some Powell River residents believe councillors should just stick to lowering taxes and fixing roads. Implementing environmental initiatives is not about how much money is coming out of our pockets next year. Banning plastic products and working toward reduction of waste is about the future of Powell River and its next generations.
Some members of council were elected, in part, for their promise to introduce environmentally friendly policies, and kudos to them for actually following through and doing so.
It should also be duly noted that the plastic-bottle ban was originally proposed by Powell River’s youth council, our future leaders. Perhaps we need to take more time to listen to the generations who will inherit Powell River when we are gone.
Jason Schreurs, publisher/editor