Last May, Penticton city council adopted three resolutions recommended by a coalition of community partners to address the problem of safely managing discarded needles.
That Sharps Disposal Strategy is now becoming a reality as city staff, working in conjunction with the coalition, have finalized plans to move ahead on three resolutions: identify locations where needle disposal drop boxes can be located on city properties, install drop boxes and provide information on the city’s website educating the public on drop box locations as well as safety guidelines for disposing of needles.
“Discarded needles are a dark reality that many communities are forced to deal with. Having more sharps containers throughout the community should help to reduce the risk and clean up some of our public spaces”, said Mayor Andrew Jakubeit.
“Providing sharps disposal units has proven effective in other Canadian communities to reduce the number of needles discarded in public spaces. It is really about accessibility and increasing options for disposal,” said Ian Gerbrandt, a program director with OneSky Community Resources, which is partnering with the city and other organizations on the disposal strategy.
The city’s disposal box installation comes two months after a local pharmacy attempted to institute a needle buyback program to address the growing problem of used needles.
Site assessments and markings for drop boxes on both private and public land took place in August and installation started Sept. 12 at nine locations: Creekside Trail, Nanaimo Avenue and Van Horne Street; Industrial Avenue trail, south of Wholesale Club near creek; Okanagan Lake Park, east end, past the dog beach; west side of the Penticton public library; 200 Block Main Street lane outside the public washroom; Rose Garden walkway; Marina Way, at the entrance to Esplanade trail; Fairhaven Housing, 2670 Skaha Lake Rd. and the Penticton United Church, 696 Main St.
More information is available about the disposal strategy through the City of Penticton website.
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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