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EDITORIAL – Sharps-disposal container on Rivers Trail seems out of place

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

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 mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (9122 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Sharps-disposal container on Rivers Trail seems out of place

  1. Robert George // August 16, 2022 at 7:05 PM // Reply

    Again,Calvert Island would be a super hangout?

  2. John Noakes // August 12, 2022 at 5:25 AM // Reply

    The sharps container in the foreground and the kids’ playground equipment in the background.
    Somehow, this madness has to stop.

  3. As a person who walks along Schubert Dr to Westmont often, I can tell you that things have definitely changed. I have seen several drugs deals, assorted folk who can be quite intimidating not to mention the client of the housing project who was arrested for uttering threats to kill a local resident in the area. Yet there are some who are polite and cheerful and friendly to chat with.
    Sharps have been a minor issue in the past as the bridge underpass is a convenient and sheltered spot to hang out but there has been an increase in the amount I have seen lately. I would say it is better to have somewhere to put them other than bury them in the rocks. But I agree, if you don’t know how to handle them properly, what do you do?

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