I have travelled — and grocery shopped — around the world. Many of the places I have provisioned are tourist destinations and in most of these places free plastic bags are no longer an option.
What is the alternative? I usually have the choice of a free paper bag or an inexpensive bag I can pay for, and re-use. Often there is the third choice of a more substantial bag that will last for years. I have always felt welcome — and never offended — when free plastic bags were not available. In fact, having to chose and pay a nominal fee for a green alternative has always enhanced my "tourist experience."
If any one of us — resident or visitor — have to run into a grocery store at the last minute (without our own bag in hand) we can easily pay an extra small fee to purchase a re-usable cloth bag available at the checkout.
I urge Whistler council to be more proactive about this.