June 13, 2018 6:48 am

London city council powers ahead with high-speed rail, dumps motion for clear trash bags

London City Hall


City councillors made relatively quick work of their agenda Tuesday, getting through discussions on a few hot topics.

In an effort to divert waste from landfills, council debated switching to clear garbage bags.

The motion was put forward by Coun. Paul Hubert. He said the garbage system at his family’s cottage requires clear plastic bags, and since making the switch, he’s seen a reduction in what was thrown out.

“It’s a social psychological phenomenon where, when you see things, you reconsider,” Hubert said.

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READ MORE: London talks trash, decision still a year away

The idea didn’t fair well with Coun. Stephen Turner.

“The clear bag is kind of a last step, because the other part is organics, which we haven’t touched yet,” Turner said.

“Reduce, reuse, recycle. It’s actually a hierarchy.”

“Reduce first, then reuse, then recycle — recycle is last on the list. I think those are the really important steps that we do first before we [think about clear plastic bags],” he said.

Coun. Virigina Ridley said we don’t need to trash shame people into being more conscious of what they throw out.

“I think there’s a lot more we can do to change behaviour through positive rewards rather than this type of program,” Ridley said.

The motion was dumped 9-5.

READ MORE: Committee backs high-speed rail study in London

Meanwhile, with a new provincial government coming into power, some councillors pushed to defer a high-speed rail corridor protection study, while others felt the study needed to move ahead.

“Protecting the corridor is really important. If we don’t do the study and we don’t protect the corridor and we have an issue, we’re going to run into a problem,” Coun. Jesse Helmer said.

“It’s the budget for high speed rail and actually building it that is more of the issue,” he said.

The motion passed unanimously.

READ MORE: Relocating rail lines in London highly unlikely: staff report

There was no discussion when it came to rail lines in the city. Council voted in favour of staff recommendations to move forward with a strategy for separating strategic grade separations, which is separating the lines from the roads by putting them at different heights.

Councillors also argued over how to handle a list of demands from the accessibility advisory committee. The group threatened to quit as a whole last month over what members describe as being systemically ignored by council.

The demands were received but not endorsed by council, which decided to move ahead with a meeting between the advisory committee and the Mayor to discuss next steps.

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