City gets meeting with Interior Health after Penticton girl steps on discarded needle

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

PENTICTON - Officials from the City of Penticton and the Interior Health Authority are going to meet tomorrow to talk about discarded needles in the community after a girl stepped on one in a local spray park.

The City said in a press release it hopes to encourage Interior Health during a meeting scheduled for tomorrow, June 20, to hold a conversation with the public on the issue of discarded needles and how best to address the concerns being raised by residents and visitors.

The action comes after an incident in Skaha Lake Park yesterday afternoon. A caution was issued in a social media post after a little girl apparently stepped on a discarded needle near the spray park. 

"We acknowledge the unfortunate nature of the incident yesterday," city bylaw services supervisor Tina Siebert said, adding the city did not hand out needles, but do spend a lot of time fielding hundreds of calls to collect them from city streets, parks and other public places.

“I am looking forward to speaking with Interior Health tomorrow and having an open and frank discussion concerning the challenges Penticton is experiencing when sharps are improperly discarded in parks, along trails or near waterways,” Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki said in the release.

“While this issue is not unique to Penticton, a solution for our community needs to be arrived at quickly. Accidental encounters of carelessly discarded sharps, combined with the manner and volume in which they are being distributed, must be examined closely and an effective multi-party solution arrived at as soon as possible,” he said.

Interior Health medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema agrees it has a role to play in sharps collection.

Mema told Penticton has a community group dedicated to looking after sharps and they have placed collection bins in various locations in the city.

“It’s important for residents to know how to handle sharps, but it’s also important to know the risk of disease from needles is almost zero,” she said. “We don’t want people to get poked, but if you do, go to the emergency department. In general, the risk is low.”

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