A community-wide ban on plastic bags is now in effect in Sioux Lookout.

However, the town bylaw, prohibiting the sale or free distribution of plastic bags within the municipality, provides for a one-year, phase-in period for the general public.

A town press release states that no fines will be issued until June 30, 2012 – only warnings to the general public, so that people can get used to the no-plastic-bag rules.

To promote voluntary compliance in the interim, the municipality will be undertaking additional public education and awareness initiatives, and handing out free reusable bags at the Farmer’s Markets and at the Sioux Lookout Chamber of Commerce’s annual Trade, Craft & Home Show next month.

The town’s Environment Committee will be gathering additional public comment on the new bylaw and will be meeting with local business owners to ensure any residual concerns relative to the bylaw are addressed.

Council has reserved the right to reconsider the bylaw following the review. If, based on feedback, there is an overwhelming opposition to the bylaw, council will consider, at its regular October meeting, whether or not to rescind the bylaw, the news release states.

For more information on the bylaw, visit the website: www.siouxlookout.ca/banthebag.

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