Posts Tagged "ban"

21May

COVID-19 update for May 21: Poll shows nearly half of B.C. residents skirting travel ban | 357 new cases, three deaths | Parents with vaccine bookings can bring children age 12 to 17 for jab

by admin

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

Article content

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for May 21, 2021.

We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on May 20:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 140,953 (4,636 active cases)
• New cases since May 19: 357
• Total deaths: 1,661 (3 new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 331
• Intensive care: 113
• Total vaccinations: 2,687,360 doses administered; 135,246 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 134,521
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 5

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IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST NEWS ON COVID-19 IN B.C.

3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.

Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

5 a.m. – Almost half of British Columbians polled are still skirting travel bans

Almost half of British Columbians admit to having travelled for non-essential reasons in the past three months, according to a new poll.

Carried out by Leger for Postmedia, the poll comes as the premier said to expect an easing of restrictions on gatherings soon and as RCMP prepare to set up road checks to enforce travel restrictions that remain in place until midnight on Tuesday.

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“When there has been a long weekend, we have seen an increase in case counts, which leads to an increase in potential fatalities, an increase in hospitalization, which could lead to intensive care units being overrun,” said Premier John Horgan on Thursday.

“I appreciate it will be a gorgeous weekend,” he said. “So stay local, stay close to home. We need to follow the rules until we come out of the circuit-breaker. Let’s get through this weekend. It is so critically important. We can’t stress enough how important it is to follow the guidelines.

The Leger poll showed that 40 per cent of British Columbians over the past three months continued to travel for non-essential reasons, particularly those between 18 and 34 years old.

Of the 1,000 respondents, 36 per cent went outside of their neighbourhood, 24 per cent went outside of their city, eight per cent travelled outside of their health region, two per cent went outside of B.C., and one per cent travelled outside of Canada.

The poll also showed a majority — between 77 and 87 per cent — of respondents supported both allowing residents to follow travel restrictions without government enforcement and enforcing and fining people because “residents cannot be trusted” to follow the guidelines.

-Susan Lazaruk

5 a.m. – As British Columbians continue to register for first jab, it is still unclear if vaccine hesitancy will stall pace

B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program appears to show no signs of letting up.

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For about 10 days, the average number of people getting vaccinated daily has been 50,000. And there are more than 808,000 British Columbians registered for a vaccine on the province’s booking system as of May 19 who had yet to get a first dose, according to information provided by the Ministry of Health.

That means about 75 per cent of adults in B.C. have either had their first jab or are registered to get it.

Recent Canadian government modelling suggests restrictions can be eased for the summer once 75 per cent of adults receive a first dose and 20 per cent their second doses.

About 39,000 people a day in B.C. registered to get vaccinated last week, less than the daily number of people getting the injection, but there is still a backlog of people waiting and wanting a vaccine.

Some scientists have said, however, that higher levels of vaccination will be needed, as much as 85 per cent of adults, because the vaccines don’t provide complete protection and because surging virus variants transmit more easily and cause worse outcomes.

-Gord Hoekstra

12 a.m. – Parents with a COVID-19 vaccine booking can bring their children 12-17 with them for a dose

Parents who have a COVID-19 vaccine booked can now bring their children aged 12 to 17 with them to get the dose as well.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said this was a way to help get the 310,000 youth aged 12-16 in B.C. immunized as quickly as possible. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for use in children aged 12 to 17.

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Henry said there were 357 new cases of the disease over the past day and three deaths. There are now 4,636 active cases of the disease in B.C. – of which 331 are being treated in hospital including 113 in intensive care.

Henry said youth did not need permission from their parents or caregivers to receive the vaccine.

Premier John Horgan said restrictions on travel within three regions in B.C. based on health regions would be lifted on Tuesday, when the government explains its COVID-19 restart plan.

12 a.m. – B.C. set to announce provincial restart plan on Tuesday

The British Columbia government is poised to announce details of a provincial restart plan to support the post-pandemic economy.

Ravi Kahlon, B.C.’s economic recovery minister, told the legislature today a restart announcement is set for Tuesday, but he provided few other details.

Kahlon made the comments during question period, where the Opposition Liberals called for an economic plan that includes targets and timelines.


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

– With files from The Canadian Press

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

3May

Daytime camping ban begins in Victoria as advocates work to find housing for those in need | CBC News

by admin

As of Saturday, a bylaw prohibiting daytime camping in Victoria city parks has come into effect, and people in those areas are being asked to leave by 7:00 a.m. PT. Tents can be put back up at 8:00 p.m. during the summer and 7:00 p.m. in the winter. 

However, anyone who has already agreed to move into temporary housing, including a tiny-home village or one of the temporary housing sites that already exists or is being built, won’t have to take down their tents in the morning, according to the city’s mayor.

“They need to get on the B.C. housing registry if they’re homeless,” Victoria mayor Lisa Helps told On the Island host Gregor Craigie. 

“I don’t want people camping in the city of Victoria. It’s not good for anyone. I mean, that’s been abundantly clear.”

She said anyone who isn’t homeless and is just camping overnight should look for an alternative place to set up camp.

“Our parks are not campgrounds,” she said. 

To hear Victoria mayor Lisa Helps’ interview on CBC’s On the Island, click here: 

On The Island9:53Moving from parks to shelter spaces – we spoke with the Mayor of Victoria about the latest on the camping situation in Victoria

Gregor Craigie spoke with Mayor Lisa Helps of Victoria about the end of daylight camping. 9:53

Helps said bylaw officers and police went into parks to enforce the rule over the weekend and advocates were also there to help people. According to reports the mayor received, everything went “relatively well.”

“In terms of danger or fear or worry, everything went went relatively smoothly,” Helps said. 

Over the next few weeks, tents will come down as people who have signed on for temporary or transitional housing will gradually be moved into those spaces. Helps said as of Monday, 20 people will move from various parks around the city into the Russell Street transitional housing. 

Others will move into other transitional or supportive housing facilities in the city, including a few available rooms at the Capital City Center Hotel

More housing coming

A tiny-home village, made of shipping containers, is set to open for residents May 12. 

It has space for 30 residents. 

Shipping container tiny-homes in Victoria will look like this one, staged for a media tour in late April. (Rohit Joseph/CBC)

“Just the act of having a roof over your head, a shower, a washroom, privacy, an opportunity to build community, feel welcome, feel part of community, that alone helps to to bring down people’s stress and provide an opportunity for some stability which they may not have had for years,” Kelly Roth, the executive director of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, told CBC’s Rohit Joseph. 

The tiny-home village in Victoria, B.C., will provide a safe, private living space for 30 residents. (Rohit Joseph/CBC)

Neighbours of 865 Catherine Street in Victoria are invited to participate in an online consultation Monday about plans for a 45-unit supportive housing facility.

Heidi Hartman, B.C. Housing’s Vancouver Island Regional Director, said staff do a careful assessment of each resident who will move into the building. She expects these won’t be people coming directly from a park, but from another temporary shelter site where they will have lived until the Catherine Street building is ready for move-in. 

“This is purpose-built housing,” Hartman said.  

“From my experience up and down the island … when we’ve opened a permanent, purpose-built, supportive housing like [what] will go into Catherine Street, it’s integrated very well into the community.”

To hear sound from CBC’s tour of the new tiny-home village in Victoria, B.C., click here: 

All Points West8:09Victoria’s first tiny home village nears completion

Built from re-purposed shipping containers, the tiny home village will provide transitional housing for 30 people. CBC’s Rohit Joseph toured the site, located in the parking lot next to Royal Athletic Park. You will hear from Melanie Ransome with Aryze Developments, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Kelly Roth with the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and Julian Daly, the CEO of Our Place. 8:09

30Apr

COVID-19 update for April 30: B.C. government to release details of enforcement on travel ban | 853 new cases, record ICU cases

by admin

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

Article content

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for April 30, 2021.

We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on April 29:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 128,742 (7,996 active cases)
• New cases since April 26: 853
• Total deaths: 1,577 (1 new death)
• Hospitalized cases: 503
• Intensive care: 178
• Total vaccinations: 1,749,375 doses administered (90,296 second doses)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 11,628
• Recovered: 118,937
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 12

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IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19 FAQ: What you need to know about the vaccine rollout in B.C.

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST NEWS ON COVID-19 IN B.C.

3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.

Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

10 a.m. – Minister to release enforcement details of COVID-19 travel ban in B.C.

British Columbia’s solicitor general is expected to announce more details about enforcement of a travel ban aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Mike Farnworth, who is also the public safety minister, announced orders a week ago to limit non-essential travel between three regional zones until May 25.

He has said police will conduct periodic road checks at key travel points and violators could be issued $575 fines.

The National Police Federation has criticized the order, saying it lacks clarity and that its RCMP members in B.C. are at risk of public backlash and exposure to the virus due a slow immunization rollout for officers.

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The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has said Indigenous, Black and racialized communities could be at risk of negative harmful impacts when dealing with police.

However, Farnworth has maintained the province sought input from racialized communities.

-The Canadian Press

5 a.m. – Death due to B.C. COVID-19 parties could lead to manslaughter charges: experts

People who break health rules by holding parties that lead to death from COVID-19 should heed the warning from a British Columbia judge about facing a manslaughter charge, legal experts say.

Prof. Lisa Dufraimont of York University’s Osgoode Hall law school said manslaughter charges stem from an unlawful act that causes death and a foreseeable activity that could cause bodily harm.

“And if in fact it does cause someone’s death, as the judge said, then that could amount to manslaughter,” Dufraimont said in an interview Thursday.

“The judge is right about that.”

Provincial court Judge Ellen Gordon chastised Mohammad Movassaghi this week as she sentenced him to one day in jail, a $5,000 fine and 18 months’ probation. He had previously pleaded guilty to disobeying a court order, failing to comply with a health officer’s order and unlawfully purchasing grain alcohol.

The court heard he held a party for 78 people in a penthouse condominium that was about 165 square metres in size that police described as a makeshift nightclub.

-The Canadian Press

12 a.m.– 853 new cases, record ICU cases; vaccines on the way

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B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 853 new reported cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total to date in the province to 128,742.

There are 178 people in intensive care with COVID-19, the highest to date.

There have been one additional death, nudging the death toll to 1,577.

Henry said B.C. is expecting to receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week.

B.C. will also receive about one million doses of Pfizer next month, which Henry said will accelerate the age-based program.


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

– With files from The Canadian Press

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

31Oct

Metro Vancouver bus strike: Action to start with uniform, overtime ban

by admin

VANCOUVER – The union representing Metro Vancouver’s bus and SeaBus drivers has announced what possible strike action will look like on Friday if a tentative agreement is not reached by their deadline.

According to Unifor, if an agreement isn’t settled by 8 a.m. on Nov. 1, transit operators won’t wear uniforms on the job and maintenance workers will refuse overtime shifts. 

“Our number one goal is a fair contract that ensures our members are working under safe and reasonable conditions so they can best serve the public,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president, in a news release.

“To minimize the disruption to the public while still ramping up pressure on the employer, we have chosen a measured level of strike action in the first phase.”

Unifor says they think this first phase will increase exposure to negotiations.

“It is a strange experience to see an operator out of uniform, and we hope that starts conversations with the passengers about our struggle with this employer to get a fair deal,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor western regional director and lead negotiator during the talks.

But if a deal isn’t reached, a ban on overtime could start to impact transit users, Unifor has warned. 

“The system has normalized overtime, so without it, the turnaround for repairs and other maintenance will build up quickly,” said Mike Smith, president of Unifor Local 2200 representing maintenance and SeaBus workers. 

“We trust that TransLink will not put unsafe vehicles back on the road, so it is a question of fewer vehicles available in the system.”

Contract talks are expected to continue Thursday. 

Earlier this month, Unifor Local 111 voted 99 per cent in favour of striking after months of contract negotiations broke down on Oct. 3.

When the 72-hour strike notice was announced, McGarrigle told CTV News Vancouver there continues to be issues over wages, benefits and working conditions for bus drivers.

“They need to have time to go to the washroom, have a bite to eat, just simply reset themselves and they aren’t having the time to do that,” McGarrigle said. “We need to make sure wages are fair and competitive and make sure generally they are respected by the company.”

Unifor also said overcrowding on buses is also leading to safety concerns.

“It has an impact on their mental health,” McGarrigle said. “When the passengers are feeling they are being passed up, when the drivers are being overworked eventually something’s gotta give.”

Earlier in the week Coast Mountain Bus Company said in a statement it remains committed to “reaching an acceptable negotiated settlement and is ready to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible.”

Before Unifor announced its plans, TransLink said it would use social media and its website to let transit users know if the system was going to be disrupted.

“It’s important to note that only bus SeaBus service is going to be affected by any job action Unifor undertakes,” said Jill Drews, a spokesperson for TransLink on Wednesday. 

The last time bus drivers walked off in Metro Vancouver was in 2001. That strike lasted four months. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Sheila Scott  

31Oct

Metro Vancouver bus strike: Job action to start with uniform, overtime ban

by admin

VANCOUVER – The union representing Metro Vancouver’s bus and SeaBus drivers has announced what possible strike action will look like on Friday if a tentative agreement is not reached by their deadline.

According to Unifor, if an agreement isn’t settled by 8 a.m. on Nov. 1, transit operators won’t wear uniforms on the job and maintenance workers will refuse overtime shifts. 

“Our number one goal is a fair contract that ensures our members are working under safe and reasonable conditions so they can best serve the public,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president, in a news release.

“To minimize the disruption to the public while still ramping up pressure on the employer, we have chosen a measured level of strike action in the first phase.”

Unifor says they think this first phase will increase exposure to negotiations.

“It is a strange experience to see an operator out of uniform, and we hope that starts conversations with the passengers about our struggle with this employer to get a fair deal,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor western regional director and lead negotiator during the talks.

But if a deal isn’t reached, a ban on overtime could start to impact transit users, Unifor has warned. 

“The system has normalized overtime, so without it, the turnaround for repairs and other maintenance will build up quickly,” said Mike Smith, president of Unifor Local 2200 representing maintenance and SeaBus workers. 

“We trust that TransLink will not put unsafe vehicles back on the road, so it is a question of fewer vehicles available in the system.”

Contract talks are expected to continue Thursday. 

Earlier this month, Unifor Local 111 voted 99 per cent in favour of striking after months of contract negotiations broke down on Oct. 3.

When the 72-hour strike notice was announced, McGarrigle told CTV News Vancouver there continues to be issues over wages, benefits and working conditions for bus drivers.

“They need to have time to go to the washroom, have a bite to eat, just simply reset themselves and they aren’t having the time to do that,” McGarrigle said. “We need to make sure wages are fair and competitive and make sure generally they are respected by the company.”

Unifor also said overcrowding on buses is also leading to safety concerns.

“It has an impact on their mental health,” McGarrigle said. “When the passengers are feeling they are being passed up, when the drivers are being overworked eventually something’s gotta give.”

Earlier in the week Coast Mountain Bus Company said in a statement it remains committed to “reaching an acceptable negotiated settlement and is ready to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible.”

Before Unifor announced its plans, TransLink said it would use social media and its website to let transit users know if the system was going to be disrupted.

“It’s important to note that only bus SeaBus service is going to be affected by any job action Unifor undertakes,” said Jill Drews, a spokesperson for TransLink on Wednesday. 

The last time bus drivers walked off in Metro Vancouver was in 2001. That strike lasted four months. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Sheila Scott  

28Oct

B.C. paper-straw company starts production ahead of coming plastic ban

by admin

It was the sight of bottle caps, straws and other plastics strewn across the beach, and evidence from around the world of sea animals dying from ingesting single-use wastes, that spurred Leslie Beckmann and Dave Giesbrecht to help turn things around.

The steps the North Vancouver couple chose to take were to import, as Beckmann called it, “a Rube Goldberg machine” — that being a complicated and seemingly over-engineered contraption that performs a simple task — from China, plunk it down in a warehouse in Burnaby and start the first paper-straw-manufacturing business in B.C.

Beckmann and Giesbrecht’s move to start production earlier this year came amid continuing policy steps by local governments like the City of Vancouver to cut our reliance on straws and many other single-use plastics.

“A lot of people are now saying, ‘Well, why straws?’ ” she said. “There are so many other problems that are so much bigger. This is just a pretty, sexy kind of thing to do, but it doesn’t really matter. Our view was something was better than nothing.”


Leslie Beckmann and Dave Giesbrecht with their paper straw making machine in Burnaby, BC., September 17, 2019.

NICK PROCAYLO /

PNG

Yet Beckmann and Giesbrecht’s company, Waterhorse Paper Straws, is doing far from nothing. It now produces more than 25,000 environmentally conscious, local straws a day. At full steam the company could effectively eliminate the need for as many as 5.4 million pieces of plastic per year from the region’s waste stream, and they now have a second machine en route that will be able to produce three times that.

The machine’s manufacturing process is complicated, with rollers, reels, glue baths, twisters and cutters all working away to turn big spools of paper into small tubes.

The straws can be purchased online direct from the company in small batches. Costs vary depending on the product, but 210, six-millimetre straws run for $13, with commercial prices available.

For Beckmann, the paper straws that come out of the machine are superior to plastic, “compostable” straws for several reasons. Unlike plastics, paper straws can be tossed into green bins, and those that escape our collection systems won’t stick around for long. In contrast, compostable plastics require dedicated processes and facilities to biodegrade and they can’t be chucked out along with organic waste.

Vancouver is in the midst of working out the details of a bylaw covering an expected ban on all types of unnecessary plastic straws by April 2020. That bylaw is slated to go before council in late November. The proposed bylaw “would require food vendors to provide a bendable plastic straw upon request when needed for accessibility,” according to the city.

Vancouver is also approaching a Jan. 1, 2020, ban on foam cups and takeout containers. There are some exemptions to the ban, but businesses will be prohibited from using those products, including existing stock, by that date.


Leslie Beckmann and Dave Giesbrecht with paper straws in Burnaby, BC., September 17, 2019.

NICK PROCAYLO /

PNG

Small pieces of foam made up nine per cent of the trash collected during shoreline cleanups in Vancouver in 2016, according to the city. By comparison, plastic straws and stir sticks made up about three per cent of shoreline litter. Plastic bags comprise another three per cent.

A whopping 22 per cent of trash on Vancouver streets are disposable cups, lids and sleeves, and about half of the garbage collected from public waste bins is takeout containers and cups, according to the city.

Beckmann said it’s not easy for consumers to consistently choose environmentally friendly options given the prevalent use of plastics in shops.

“I think we’ve got a long way to go,” she said. But, in her opinion, people were starting to pay attention to wastes they create and the life cycles of products.

It turns out her own company recently found a way to reuse some of the wastes it generates, when a beekeeper called to say they could use cast-off straws to build bee houses.

mrobinson@postmedia.com

Related

17Jun

Plan to ban single-use plastics has First Nations with long-term drinking water advisories worried | CBC News

by admin

A plan to ban single-use plastics in Canada has First Nations with long-term drinking water advisories that rely on bottled water concerned about how they will be affected.

Single-use plastics, as defined by the United Nations Environment Programme, are disposable plastics from packaging that are often intended to only be used once. These include grocery bags, food packaging, straws, cutlery and bottles.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government intends to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021.

“My family would have less plastic waste if we didn’t rely on bottled water for fresh drinking water on reserve,” read a tweet by Courtney Skye following the announcement.

She lives in Six Nations of the Grand River in southern Ontario, where only part of the community is connected to a water line fed by a state-of-the-art UV water treatment plant.

The rest of the community, including Skye’s family, has cistern water tanks attached to their houses for water to use for washing clothes and showering. There are stations where bottles can be bought or refilled with water for drinking and cooking.

“There is a need for First Nations’ perspective on a lot of different issues,” she said. “People should be questioning and looking for it when they’re seeing these types of announcements made on things that affect the whole society.”

According to Indigenous Services Canada, there are currently 58 long-term drinking water advisories in effect on reserves, which the federal government plans to end by March 2021. Since 2015, 84 long-term advisories have been lifted.

‘A terrible thing to have no water’

June Baptiste is a councillor for Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation in B.C. which currently relies on bottled water brought into the community for clean drinking water. Any ban on single-use plastics that would affect access to bottled water would not go over well in the community, she said.

“That would be a terrible thing to have no water out there, without no water plant,” she said.

Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation has running water connected to its homes, but Baptiste said it is contaminated with heavy metals that leave the water yellow and smelling like sulfur. 

Even when the water is boiled, it remains discoloured and foul-smelling, she said.

The community is hoping to get a chlorinated water treatment plant soon, but Baptiste is unsure of the project’s timeline. If the community didn’t have access to single-use plastic water bottles, she said it would be a disaster.

“How would they get water out to us? They would definitely have to build that water plant right away.”  

Emergency water supply

Even communities with water treatment plants sometimes rely on bottled water in emergencies — like when the water treatment plant in Carry the Kettle Nakoda First Nation in Saskatchewan burned down this winter.

The Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation’s water treatment plant burned down in February. (Submitted by Jay Bouchard)

It’s estimated that it will be another six months before the water treatment plant is operational again. In the meantime, water is being trucked in from nearby communities and poured into a reservoir to feed the community’s plumbing, while bottled water is being used for drinking.

“If we don’t continue to have this water available to people, then there’s going to be a real cry for water that is going to be devastating to communities in the future,” said Tim Haywahe, a resident of the community.

Indigenous Services Canada said in an email they are committed to lifting all long-term drinking water advisories on reserve by March 2021.

“With every advisory lifted, that means one more community that no longer has to rely on bottled water,” the statement said. 

“For all initiatives to reduce plastic waste, the government of Canada’s approach will take into consideration accessibility and health and safety. Accessibility and health needs of the public will be taken into account before any targeted action on single-use plastic products is taken.”

The statement added that a ban is not the only option, as recycling rates can be “dramatically improved.”




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19Apr

City of Vancouver looks to delay straw ban until 2020

by admin

A ban on the unnecessary use of plastic straws in Vancouver, originally set to come into effect by summer, may be delayed until next year.

The city originally set a goal of implementing the ban by June 1, 2019, but now staff are recommending council postpone the ban until April, 2020 so that more consultation can take place. 

The city said the delay would, in part, give businesses more time to adapt to the change.

“We’ve heard that more time is needed for making the transition,” said Monica Kosmak, Vancouver’s senior project manager for its zero waste program. 

“Our commitment to reducing single-use items is unwavering and we’re just taking the time to  … get the details of the bylaw right.” 

Monica Kosmak pictured in April 2018. (Jake Costello/CBC)

In its report, set to be presented to council on Wednesday, staff said the recent municipal election delayed the consultation period and “left insufficient time to complete a fulsome consultation.”

In addition, the report noted that the plastic straw ban posed a particular challenge to “small businesses and ethnocultural businesses [that] rely on single-use plastic straws to serve drinks such as bubble tea, smoothies and to-go drinks.” 

“There aren’t a lot of alternatives available for wider straws like bubble tea,” said Kosmak, who said they would continue to work with businesses on finding alternatives.

Wider straws are used to serve bubble tea, a cold drink often served with tapioca “pearls” and other jellies slurped through a straw. (David Chang/EPA-EFE)

Staff also said they’re working on bylaw amendments that would “require businesses to provide a bendable plastic straw when requested by a customer for accessibility.” 

The city has learned through the consultation that a good option could see a general ban on plastic straws in place for food vendors that also requires them to keep a small stock of bendable plastic straws for those who need them, Kosmak said.

“Similar to accessible parking spots and ramps and railings, a bendable plastic straw, we’re learning, is a very good tool for accessibility and very much needed,” she said.

Staff are also recommending the ban on foam containers be postponed until January 2020, asking that charitable food providers be given an extra year to comply “to allow more time for affordable alternatives to become available.”

The city launched its strategy to reduce the impact of plastic and paper shopping bags, disposable cups, takeout containers, plastic straws and single-use utensils in 2018 as part of its Zero Waste 2040 strategy.

It says another report this November will provide more details on the proposed bylaws, including strategies for phasing in the rollout, education, and addressing accessibility concerns.


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18Apr

Update expected on Vancouver’s foam and straw ban

by admin


A report will recommend Wednesday that businesses in Vancouver have until April next year to ditch plastic straws.


Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

Vancouver city staff will update a report next week on the single-use item reduction strategy, with a request to give small business a bit more time to find alternatives to plastic straws and foam cups.

On Wednesday, staff will present an update to council on proposed bylaws for plastic straws, plastic and paper shopping bags, disposable cups, take-out food containers and utensils.

Staff are requesting an extension for the ban on foam takeaway cups and containers to Jan. 1., 2020, with a one-year exemption for charitable organizations, and a ban on unnecessary use of plastic straws to take effect in April next year.

The extension is in response to a request from small business who say they need more time to find affordable alternatives, according to a city news release Thursday.

Bylaw details, including phasing and requirements for accessibility, will be provided in a staff report in November. Plans for phasing out plastic and paper shopping bags, disposable cups and single-use utensils following public consultation will be outlined in a report Nov. 30.

The city says plastic packaging and marine plastic pollution has emerged as a global priority. As such, staff will recommend Vancouver city council forward two resolutions for the 2019 Union of British Columbia Municipalities Convention.

The resolutions will request the provincial government adopt a more comprehensive provincial single-use item reduction strategy that aligns with federal goals for reduction of plastic waste, and develop standards for compostable single-use items.

The single-use item reduction strategy was approved by council last summer.

ticrawford@postmedia.com


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