A plastic bag ban for Revelstoke? Environmentalists — and residents — say it’s time

By David F. Rooney

It’s time for the municipal government to ban both plastic bags and cosmetic herbicides, the results of a city-wide survey suggest.

“The community is overwhelmingly in favour of a pesticide ban on public and private property,” said Carole Prince of Survey and Data Solutions, the company that conducted the survey for the North Columbia Environmental Society (NCES).

She told told City Council on Tuesday that the results of the NCES-sponsored survey showed people with and without families wanted the chemical poisons outlawed within city boundaries.

“Regardless of whether respondents have children or not, the clear majority of responses supported a local pesticide ban,” the survey said. “However, it is notable that 84% of people with children supported this ban. Not only do respondents support a pesticide ban on City land, a strong majority of respondents with (87%) and without children (77%) supported a complete cosmetic pesticide ban for the City of Revelstoke on residential land.”

The City has already stopped using cosmetic chemical herbicides — many of which are suspected or known carcinogens and mutagens — on public land. If Council decides to act on the survey’s recommendations that could be extended to private property, as well.

The NCES designed the survey in December 2008 with funding from the Columbia Basin Trust and the City. Responses were collected from 425 people over a seven-week period this year. Given the size of the sample (about five per cent of the population), Prince and her colleague, Mindy Skinner, determined that the results had a margin of error of about 4.6% at a 95% confidence level.

Revelstokians also want a ban on plastic bags. The survey noted that “younger people under the age of 35 (83%) were more likely than older people (68%) to support a plastic bag ban in the City.”

“It is interesting to note that both age groups did support a plastic bag ban,” the survey said.

Better recycling opportunities are also in demand, Prince said.

“While residents are given the opportunity to recycle their paper, tins, and glass regularly most residents (76%) would appreciate a change in the recycling system in Revelstoke to the tune of curb-side recycling,” the survey said. “Other suggestions for upgrades include increased plastic recycling in the form of a bin with the current recycle bins.”

The full results of the survey will be publicly available next week on the NCES website at www.northcolumbia.org/.