Wolseley café owner waves white — plastic — flag in grease-trap battle

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It’s going to be only plastic plates, cups and cutlery at a popular Wolseley restaurant.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/02/2017 (2169 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s going to be only plastic plates, cups and cutlery at a popular Wolseley restaurant.

Owner Bill Fugler went to city hall Monday to challenge the terms of the agreement that allowed him to reopen his restaurant, the Neighbourhood Bookstore and Café, which was closed last August because of his refusal to install a grease trap in the sink.

Fugler reopened in December after city hall granted him an exemption to the grease trap requirement but only on condition that all food and drinks be served in disposable plastic.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES A cyclist reads the notice taped to the window of The Neighbourhood Cafe outlining the reason it is closed in August. The cafe reopened in December after city hall granted an exemption to the grease trap requirement -- but only on condition that all food and drinks be served in disposable plastic.

He told a civic committee Monday that he objected to the disposable plastics requirement because it wasn’t in keeping with the environmentally friendly reputation of the Wolseley neighbourhood.

“We’re creating a ton of garbage and we don’t want to do that,” he said. “We’re smack in the middle of Wolseley, we’re in the “granola belt.” Who wants to make five times the amount of garbage in the middle of Wolseley?”

Officials with the civic water and waste department said the plastics-only condition is required to prevent an excessive amount of grease from being washed into the drain system.

Fugler argued that since he serves only sandwiches, coffee and pastries, not only is a grease trap not needed but the requirement for plastics-only plates and cutlery is unnecessary. Fugler presented the committee with a data search of civic documents, which revealed hundreds of grease trap exemptions had been approved without a plastics-only condition, including several Chinese restaurants, several branches of the Royal Canadian Legion and many coffee shops.

But councillors on the committee sided with the administration, concluding there remains a risk what little grease might be left on the plates could find its way into the sewer system.

After the hearing, Fugler told reporters he’ll keep his restaurant open and will reluctantly comply with the condition.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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Updated on Monday, February 27, 2017 3:58 PM CST: Adds quotes, background

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