CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall City Council decided to implement a four bag limit starting Oct. 5, 2020.
Administration had recommended dropping the garbage bag limit from six to two, but Council felt that drop too drastic.
Councillor Carilyne Hébert proposed instead that before dropping the bag limit so drastically, that Council stick with the original plan of drawing down the bag limit gradually. Councillor Hébert put forward a motion proposing a four bag limit with an education drive for households who frequently exceed two bags presently.
A survey conducted in 2019 showed 35 per cent of respondents wanting to see a one bag limit with 34 per cent wanting to see a two bag limit.
The City first implemented a bag limit in April 2019 to help divert more waste away from the landfill and extend the life of the Cornwall landfill. The estimated cost of closing, maintaining, and creating a new landfill is estimated at roughly $36 million.
“On my first day as a Councillor six years ago, I would have been entirely in favour of a two bag limit. Our residents were promised an incremental phased in approach. As a councillor, you have to balance what is in your heart and what your constituents want,” said Councillor Hébert.
Under the motion that was passed by Council, a four bag limit will come into effect on Oct. 5 and will remain in place until April when Council will consider a further reduction to two bags.
“If you need to go beyond that level of service, you should be paying, as you are contributing to the clutter of our landfill,” said Councillor Hébert. “My plea to my colleagues and to all residents of Cornwall is to embrace this bag limit and to do your part in reducing your footprint and waste.”
Councillor Justin Towndale was one of several councillors who endorsed an incremental approach.
“Our plan was six bags, then four bags, then two bags,” he said. “The six bag limit is high, but it is to get people used to having a bag limit in place. I think we need to have that bag limit that is reduced to four bags.”
Councillor Claude McIntosh said he was skeptical that the bag limit could be reduced any further beyond two.
“Anyone who agrees with a one bag limit doesn’t have kids,” he said. “You can’t really legislate common sense when people are packing recycling into garbage bags,” Councillor McIntosh went on to add, hoping that further education efforts could be made.
Mayor Bernadette Clement framed the issue as a prospect to support future generations. She told council that she had spoken to a young woman named Melissa before the meeting. Melissa cleans City Hall and has a nine-year-old daughter who classifies herself as an environmental activist.
“Her young daughter insists on this, demands this, for the future of her community,” said Mayor Clement.