Quesnel City Council is investing in a discarded needle pick-up pilot program.

Mayor Bob Simpson successfully lobbied for the money at this week’s meeting…

“The ask of Council is to be a funding participant in continuing this pilot at 25-hundred dollars from council initiatives, partnering with Northern Health and BC Housing, to get the pilot to the end of the year. And then we’ll work in the fall with the Business Associations and others to get it funded in the future years.”

This money, $7,500 in total from the three groups, will expand the Clean Team Program from two to four peers that pick up discarded needles and litter in West Quesnel and Downtown Quesnel business areas.

Councillor Ron Paull wanted to know if a report would be coming on how many needles have been distributed versus how many needles have been recovered through the containers and also needles that have been found in the environment.

Simpson noted that they will be keeping track…

“On the number count, we will be doing quarterly reports, so we will absolutely be getting the distribution end and the pickup end and it’s part of the contract arrangement that we would have on this phase is that we need those quarterly reports and we them in areas, so that when we go to the business associations we can actually report in those areas what the needle pickup program is.”

Simpson cautions however that the clean team’s objective is not to get every discarded needle…

“We’re getting people saying if they find a needle the clean team program isn’t working and my response to them is if you find a needle and it’s only one pick it up yourself and dispose of it safely. The clean team program’s objective is not to get every discarded needle, it’s to get the bulk of them, so we have to manage expectations, they’re not going to get every needle.”

Simpson says Northern Health has provided funding for the clean team to have the equipment that they need and he says it is being stored in both West Quesnel and Downtown Quesnel.