An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IS THERE A RIGHT PLACE and a wrong place to put a sharps-disposal container?
Those who walk the Rivers Trail through Westmount are wondering, after a sharps container showed up near the CN rail bridge just outside the community park.
When the Kingston Avenue property was being promoted as a location for the Moira House shelter, one of the not-so-reassuring promises — in answer to concerns about possible drug use in the area — was that a sharps container would be placed in the park.
Somewhat ironically, there are signs in the park prohibiting smoking or drinking there. As one resident points out, there are no ash trays or bins for empty brewskies, so the provision of a sharps-disposal container seems a little incongruous.
There are a couple of different ways of looking at this. One is that installing the container is better than letting needles and syringes accumulate on the ground and potentially do injury to someone.
Another is that if the shelter hadn’t been located so close to a residential neighbourhood and right next to the Rivers Trail, the issue never would have come up.
How is it supposed to be used? It seems too much to expect drug users to conscientiously drop their paraphernalia into the container.
Are the folks who walk the trail and take their kids to the park supposed to collect syringes and needles and deposit them in the container? We’ve always been told to leave them alone and contact someone who knows how to safely handle and dispose of them.
But there’s no contact number on the container. It just says, “Drop sharps into container.” So who’s actually supposed to use it?
Whatever the answer, it’s disconcerting to see the bright yellow box appear on a well-travelled community trail, and just outside a park.
A note was stuck to it for a few days that said, “Wrong place.” As they say, location, location, location.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.