Rankin Inlet has joined Baker Lake as the second community in the Kivalliq to vote in favour of banning single-use plastic bags.
The third and final reading of the bylaw, which passed unanimously without comment from councillors, took place on Sept. 13.
The new bylaw, which prevents businesses from providing, selling or distributing single use-plastic bags to customers, will come into effect starting July 31, 2022.
It also includes a provision stating that businesses can apply to request a five month exemption from the date the bylaw takes effect.
Flynn pointed out that this would give business ample time to comply with the new measures.
“We have to give our retailers the ability to wear down their inventories,” SAO Darren Flynn told Kivalliq News.
Flynn added that the bylaw was supposed to be put before council last summer but it was delayed due to Covid-19.
Following the second reading of the bylaw earlier this summer the hamlet posted an announcement about its plans.
“Most of the comments on the Facebook feeds have been positive. One person said that they were concerned that there wouldn’t be plastic bags for sharing country food. That’s a small price to pay for not having your fence blown out every winter,” Flynn said, referring to the negative impact that the build up bags has had on the management of the hamlet’s dump.
Under the new bylaw a retail establishments that do not comply are liable for a fine of up to $5,000 for a first offence and up to a maximum of $10,000 for a second offence.
New tipping fees for dump
In addition to the plastic bag bylaw, council also approved a garbage disposal bylaw in an effort to better manage the community’s waste.
It provides for stricter restrictions on when and where garbage can be put out for collection. Following the passing of the bylaw, residential units, including multi-unit dwellings will be liable for a $33 per month garbage collection fee, while government buildings will be on the hook for $110 per month and commercial buildings will have to pay $110 per pickup.
The bylaw also seeks to limit unlimited tipping of garbage at the community dump by implementing tipping fees beginning with $50 for a truck load, all the way up to $800 for the disposal or large vehicles over 5,000 kilograms.
“When I was a councillor I talked about the garbage and how we have to deal with it and it would be an embarrassment for me now if we didn’t do something about it because I’m the mayor now,” said Mayor Harry Towtongie.
“It has to be done and I was set on fixing that bloody dump before my term ended so I’m hoping we’ll be doing more than just plastic bags.”
The hamlet also has plans to distribute 200 new dumpster bins to the community which will make it easier for the new garbage truck to do pick-ups.
“We’ll consolidate our drops, so you might have to share with someone across the street but it will allow us to be more efficient,” said Flynn.
Flynn added that the hamlet previously approved $250,000 in new fencing for the dump which should arrive in the community soon.
The hamlet has also invested $100,000 in cleaning up and reorganizing the dump over the summer.
“The stuff that had been piled up over the last year was just insane,” said Flynn.