VIDEO: Community-wide safe disposal for discarded needles approved for Williams Lake

The project will see 15 discreet metal containers mounted in various areas around the city

Safe needle disposal is at the crux of a new project Williams Lake city council endorsed at its committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, April 16.

After hearing a presentation from Alyisha Knapp, from Canadian Mental Health Association about the need for discreet, metal containers in designated areas to discard needles and supplies, council voted to allocate $1,500 from the City’s special projects fund.

“We want you to work with staff to identify key locations and council will review the project in six months,” said Coun. Scott Nelson as he made a motion to endorse Knapp’s request for support and permission to install the boxes.

Knapp described the project as a harm reduction proposal and told council she already has the work force who will look after emptying the boxes.

“You probably see us picking up garbage in the mornings through our pre-vocational training program,” she said, noting through the litter pick up they have found needles in parks and alleyways behind the Salvation Army and the TD Bank.

Through the pre-vocational program, workers also distribute care packages that contain 10 syringes, 10 cookers, 10 vials of water, 10 alcohol swabs, two tourniquets, two condoms, two lubricant packets as well as four information cards.

“Currently six different locations throughout the community are supplied with these packages and roughly 100 to 250 bags are utilized every month, meaning that there are anywhere between 1,000 to 2,500 needles being distributed in that time,” Knapp said.

Many different people are using needles for diabetes or drugs, she added.

The metal containers can be mounted anywhere and have locks on them.

Knapp said she did not want bright yellow ones because that adds to stigma and plastic can easily break in the cold weather.

Coun. Sheila Boehm said she fully supported the idea because she did not want a child hurt by picking up a discarded needle.

“I would encourage you to talk to service providers so they can let people know where the boxes will be,” Boehm said.

Read more: Spring snow melt uncovers dirty needles in B.C. city

Coun. Marnie Brenner asked if there will be a monitoring system to track where the containers are that get used the most, and also offered her full support for the project.

Coun. Jason Ryll said the cost of the project far outweighed the costs of possible infection.

“I would rather follow your lead,” Ryll said. “Even if users don’t throw the needles away in the boxes, then at least someone picking them up will have a place to discard them.”

Acting Mayor Craig Smith, who took to Facebook before the meeting to seek public input on the project, said he had his doubts at first, but felt Knapp had answered his questions.

“I like that you are going to work with City staff, that the boxes are discreet and that they are not plastic,” Smith said.

Gary Muraca, the city’s director of municipal services, said city workers normally find about 30 to 40 needles in a year on Pinchbeck Hill, Boitanio Park and behind the wooden sculpture above the Stampede Grounds.

“Our staff usually takes them to the hospital,” he said.

Read more: B.C. father starts petition after son jabbed by needle he found outside



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

COVID-19: New system in Wells helps neighbours check up on each other

A green square in your window means your household is well; a red square means you need assistance

WASHOUT: Slide at Soda Creek MacAlister Road makes road impassable

Next update on DriveBC is expected on Monday, March 30 at noon.

Spreading joy through music: Local musicians brighten everyone’s day on social media

LeRae Haynes and Evan Jensen post two songs online every day

LETTERS: COVID-19 will impact us all, one way or another

Let me say that our hospital staff are heroes

COLUMN: Small scale logging contractors have to be versatile

There is logging activity in the Fox Mountain area with chip trucks heading into town

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Newspapers are safe to touch, World Health Organization confirms

Just make sure to wash your hands as you would after touching any surface or object

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Most Read