The installation of biohazard sharps containers in designated areas throughout the City of Williams Lake is being proposed.
Supported opportunities program manager with the Canadian Mental Health Association Cariboo-Chilcotin Branch (CMHA-CCB) Alyisha Knapp said used needles are being found in the community and she is proposing a response to this potential hazard.
A harm reduction program run by the CMHA-CCB and offered in partnership with the Interior Health Authority provides roughly 100 to 250 care packages throughout the community every month meaning that there are anywhere between 1000 to 2500 needles being distributed in that time.
“Another training initiative offered by the supported opportunities program (SOP) is the lot maintenance program. In this program, SOP acquires contracts with local business owners in the downtown core to clean and maintain their walkways and parking lots,” Knapp said.
“Participants in this program are frequently finding and cleaning up used needles in the lots they maintain as well as in the public alleyways behind businesses.”
Knapp said she believes that Williams Lake would benefit from 25 easily accessible sharp containers that would cost the City just over $85 a unit to mount.
Interior Health she adds has agreed to supply two 5 gallon biohazard sharps containers for the purpose of emptying the mounted units with the SOP program responsible for the placement, exchange, and disposal of the units.
“Williams Lake needs to establish a safe and convenient way for members to dispose of these needles,” Knapp said.
“As it stands, the entire community is at risk of accidental exposure to blood-borne illness and it is imperative that we take steps to alleviate this potential hazard.”
Williams Lake Council will be considering Knapp’s request at a committee of whole council meeting on Tuesday, April 16.