City council has decided not to implement a bylaw that would have banned retailers from distributing plastic bags to their customers.

The bylaw, which would have gone into effect on Jan. 1, was defeated by a 38-7 vote as a two-day meeting continued at city hall on Wednesday.

It is expected that the ban will be brought back before council in June following further review from the city solicitor.

“Based on what I have heard, people want to see us reducing plastic bags. It’s an environmental scourge and as an environmental leader, the City of Toronto has to look at a variety of options,” Coun. Janet Davis told CP24 following the vote. “We looked broadly in 2008 at a range of options and we are going to look again at a range of options in 2013 and the people of Toronto will have an opportunity to share their views.”

The ban had been the subject of much debate since council voted in favour of it last June and two weeks ago the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition announced that they would take the city to court over the ban.

Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong has also previously said that he didn’t think the ban would stand up in court, going as far as encouraging Torontonians to challenge it.

“We really feel uncomfortable moving forward based on what we are hearing from our lawyers and that means we are in limbo,” Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti told CP24 prior to the vote. “It seems that everything we do around here is always in limbo.”

Council narrowly voted to ban plastic bags following a vote to eliminate a 5-cent fee for them.

In October, council then voted to not reopen a debate on the matter in a 27-18 vote.

Speaking with CP24 ahead of the vote, Coun. Adam Vaughan said the bylaw does need further examination.

“There is a problem with the way the original bylaw came forward,” he said. “If you don’t cross every T and dot every I you leave yourself in a vulnerable position.”

Holiday shopping hours unchanged

While you may still be able to get plastic bags from area retailers, you still won’t be able to fill them on holidays.

Council had been considering allowing retailers to stay open on at least one statutory holiday, but the motion was voted down 36-7 Wednesday night.

Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong said the decision was about putting family ahead of business.

“It was a choice about lifestyles and values,” he told CP24. “I think the majority of members of council said that on those few days we can get together, and have relatives and family over, we should take the opportunity to do that.

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