A resident stumbled upon needles left in a secluded area near Parksville’s recycling depot in May. (Black Press file photo)

Abbotsford lacks 24/7 service for used-needle pickup

Chilliwack has contract with private company to respond to pickup requests

An Abbotsford dad is concerned after he found a used needle in a parking lot on a Sunday and was unable to find an agency that could come pick it up.

Mathew Kowalenko, 33, was recently taking his daughter for a tutoring lesson off of Ventura Boulevard when he noticed a used needle in the parking lot. He contacted the Abbotsford Police non-emergency line and was told to call Positive Living Fraser Valley Society.

“It just went to voicemail. I called twice. No one ever answered, no one got back to me,” he said. “I mean there are kids around. You have to do something.”

Abbotsford has no dedicated 24/7 service for immediate pickup of used needles while the city of Chilliwack has employed a private company to handle requests at all hours.

Used-needle pickup in Abbotsford is handled by several non-profits affiliated with Fraser Health, which don’t operate after business hours. While the city of Abbotsford does have an after-hours program for city services, it only responds when the needles are found on public property.

RELATED: B.C. father starts petition after son jabbed by needle he found outside

RELATED: Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Kari Hackett, the executive director of Positive Living Fraser Valley Society, said her organization receives daily calls for assistance for used-needle pickups. But, generally, pickups only happen during weekday business hours.

“We don’t have the funding to [offer the service] seven days a week,” she said. “We’re one of the largest harm-reduction providers in the Fraser Valley.”

Fraser Health documents the amount of used-needle pickup requests through their contracted agencies in different municipalities. In Abbotsford, these agencies are responding to 25 requests a month compared to only 1.5 calls a month in Chilliwack.

Griffin Securities, the private company under contact with the city of Chilliwack, has been offering the used-needle pickups for about a year now.

Employee Drew Goldstone said they receive at least four calls a week requesting the service.

“There is definitely a noticeable reduction,” he said. “It only takes one kid to get pricked.”

Currently, if citizens want to personally dispose of needles found around the city, they can find dropoffs at five locations in Abbotsford.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Minus two-degree weather a warm welcome following cold snap in Chilliwack

People flocked to the hills Saturday, sleds in hand, to take in some snowy fun in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Highway 1 to look like winter war zone until owners retrieve wrecked vehicles

Tow-truck driver says 30 vehicles still dot snowy landscape, including one rolled-over dairy truck

Charity Clothes2U ready to hand out free items to people in need in Chilliwack

The Clothes2U Winter Giveaway event will be in Chilliwack at Cooke’s Presbyterian Church

Pickup truck motorist drives up vehicle ramp and onto parked trailer on Chilliwack road

The incident happened on Young Road after Chilliwack was handed another dump of snow Friday night

5 to 10 cm of snow still coming to Fraser Valley: Environment Canada

Hard to say when the freezing rain will turn to regular rainfall, Environment Canada says

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Midnight at the Chilliwack SPCA

Due to out-of-date information on his microchip, Midnight’s owners could not be contacted

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Most Read