Needle drop box installed in front of Vernon home was in the 'wrong spot' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Needle drop box installed in front of Vernon home was in the 'wrong spot'

Christina Carter is glad a recently installed needle drop box is soon to be moved by the city.
August 16, 2018 - 3:58 PM

VERNON - Within hours of the city installing its first 24-hour needle drop box plans are already afoot to move it a few hundred metres down the street.

The sharps disposal box erected this morning, Aug. 16, at the 3400 block of 26 Avenue did not impress Christina Carter as she watched it being installed by city workers directly in front of her house.

"I think they're are awesome ideas, I just don't think that it should be in front of a residential home," Carter said. "There are lots of places where this could have gone that is not in front of small children. I'm the only house on this road that has small children."

Carter lives adjacent to the Linear Park along 25 Avenue where a multitude of homeless people often camp and says she has developed a relationship with her homeless neighbours, but the presence of the needle box is not appropriate in front of her property where her two young children often play in the yard.

Carter says she called the city right away and has been told the drop box will be moved.

City of Vernon spokesperson Nick Nilsen said the two-gallon sharp disposal box was "installed in the wrong spot" and would be moved a few hundred feet west in front of a city-owned lot.

The drop-box is the first of four sharp deposit boxes supplied by the Interior Health Authority and set to be installed around the city. Interior Health spokesperson Haley Allen confirmed while they supply the drop boxes along with guidelines, it's up to the city to decide where they will be placed. Although many public and private buildings around Vernon have sharp deposit boxes, the needle bin installed in front of Carter's home is the first of four to be installed that are accessible 24-hours a day.

Recent cases of people stepping on discarded needles have made headlines and calls for action for more to be done to recover the needles that are given out. City councillor Dalvir Nahal has said she is in the process of setting up a private needle buyback scheme, something she initiated when council voted not to support such a program.

Carter said the sharps bin would be better placed further west along the Linear Park near the creek which is away from residential property and offer users more privacy when dropping off used needles. Founders of a recent needle buyback initiative in Kamloops found that many users wanted a private place to return needles.

Nilsen said the exact location for the remaining three drop boxes set to be installed had not yet been decided but they would be placed in high traffic areas where the need was the greatest and "to the greatest extent possible we will avoid putting them in residential areas."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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