Whistler to measure anti-plastic efforts 

Council wants staff to report back in six months

Whistler is readying to gather firm data on its use of plastic bags.

In a resolution presented at a June 21 meeting, Whistler council voted to continue increasing awareness about a voluntary reduction in plastic bag use.

But council also tacked on another requirement. Mayor Ken Melamed asked that staff report back in six months on the progress that voluntary initiatives were making in reducing plastic bag use within the community.

"I think we're past education, most people know that plastic bags are a blight on the landscape," Melamed said. "I think if we pass this with the addition of a report back in six months, that identifies the actual reduction."

The resolution came after a presentation by Environmental Coordinator Kim Slater, who reported on various options the municipality could undertake to reduce plastic bag use.

Addressing requests for an outright ban, she said that the Community Charter does not give the municipality the authority to ban the use of plastic shopping bags, nor the authority to charge fees with respect to the use or provision of such bags unless the revenues were to fund a "valid regulatory scheme."

She added, however, that it's possible for the municipality to regulate plastic bags through its Business Regulation Bylaw, which would require businesses to carry reusable bags.


May long weekend numbers down


May long weekend is notorious in Whistler for drunk behaviour and violence, but police insist that they saw fewer incidents this year over the last.

Inspector Neil Cross of the Whistler RCMP said in a report to council that calls for service between May 20 and 23, 2011 were lower compared to previous years.

He reported that police got a total 117 calls for service. That's compared to 174 calls in 2010, 168 calls in 2009 and 181 calls in 2008.

"The calls for service that we had were down 33 per cent this year from last year," Cross said.

Cross said that having the Integrated Gang Task Force in Whistler for the third year in a row helped them identify whether gang members were visiting town.

"We didn't have any known gang members identified by them, which is good news," he said. "I think it was very valuable to have them... up here."


Whistler to try mail-in ballots for next municipal election


With an eye to helping the sick and the disabled participate in democracy, the municipality may try out mail-in balloting for this year's municipal election.

Shannon Story, the municipality's chief election officer, told council that Whistler could try it, if only to help people with a physical disability, illness or injury that affects their ability to vote take part in the democratic process.

Eligible voters can request and fill out an application to vote by mail from September 9 to November 17 at 4 p.m. and return it to the chief election officer. Mail ballot packages will be sent out between November 3 and November 17 at 4 p.m.





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