A visit in May by Osoyoos Secondary students looking for a couple of environmental changes in the community bore fruit Tuesday as Osoyoos Council determined to follow up on suggestions made.
Grade 11 students from the school May 22 made two presentations to Council as part of their English 11 programming, asking the Town to ponder a more robust program to remove cigarette butts from the community and to ban plastic straws in restaurants.
Both requests garnered Council support.
“I’m always encouraged when I see people that young try to get involved in municipal politics and environmental issues,” said Coun. Mike Campol before moving an option at odds with an administrative recommendation that “one or both of these requests be denied.”
“I think some of these things are worth exploring, especially the cigarette butt recycling.”
Coun. CJ Rhodes was quick to add the town “do our part . . . to eliminate our contribution to that terrible environmental concern that we have in our world right now,” and encourage the a move away from the use of plastic straws in the community as well.
Mayor Sue McKortoff took that effort one step further, noting she would like to see that action include plastic cutlery, stir sticks, lids and single-use plastic bags.
“I’m just as ornery about those as I am about the straws,” she said.
The Town’s administration had noted the “greater global corporate effort to eliminate the use of plastic straws” and indicated it continues to add cigarette butt catchers in the community. It encouraged Council to deny the students’ request “due to a lack of resources for implementation.”
Coun. Carol Youngberg, while suggesting she was in favour of the environmental change, also encouraged allowing local businesses to taker the lead.
“I’m just been to the Martimes and the (province) of New Brunswick has banned plastic bags,” added Coun. Carol Youngberg. “They gave the entire country one year’s notice to completely change their corporate supply sources . . . and they actually have the opportunity to come up with their own plan.”