Former Langley council candidate Gary Hee said it only takes moments to quickly convert discarded election signs into lightweight sleeping mats for the homeless. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Langley man wants to recycle election signs into sleeping mats for the homeless

Rather than send them to landfills, former council candidate says signs can be repurposed

A former Langley council candidate has come up with a way to recycle election campaign signs into lightweight, dry sleeping mats for homeless people.

Gary Hee said he has been thinking about way to repurpose election signs ever since he ran for Langley Township council in 2018.

“I was driving down 200 street and I saw a whole mess of campaign signs,” Hee recalled.

There had to be a better way to dispose of the plastic notices than sending them to the dump, he felt.

“I asked the [other] candidates what are you going to do with them,” he related.

“[I said] if you don’t want them, give them to me.”

He ended up with about 800.

Hee demonstrated how sleeping mats can be made from campaign signs for the Black Press Media, using a cordless drill to sandwich several of them together into lightweight rectangles that can be combined to provide a full-length sleeping mat.

“They’re dry and warm,” Hee said, an better alternative to sleeping on the ground that doesn’t take up space and can be easily packed up.

Hee said signs from the current federal election campaign could also be repurposed for sleeping mats, but he wants to see if the idea gets some traction, before he makes another appeal for federal placards.

One church in Langley has expressed interest, Hee said, and he is hoping other agencies that assist the homeless will find the mats useful.

READ MORE: Used election signs could serve as emergency shelters, candidate says

This is Hee’s second bid to recycle the campaign signs.

Earlier on, he designed a small portable shelter for homeless people built with campaign signs, but the idea didn’t catch on.

“I ended using them for garden boxes,” he said.

Hee said a local Langley church recently accepted a donation about 20 sleeping mats, and told him they intend to consult with community groups about the idea.

READ ALSO: Hospital parking fee fight goes from Langley to PNE to Ottawa

Hee, a Surrey resident, got involved in Langley issues in 2014 when he organized a petition of local residents to call for traffic calming measures along 72 Avenue where it crosses the Surrey-Langley border.

Hee launched the campaign after there were a number of serious accidents where pedestrians were hit in the area of 72 Avenue and 198B Street.

READ MORE: Campaign calls for crosswalk at fatal 72 Ave. crash site

In 2016, the Township council voted to spend $1.6 million on safety improvements.

More recently, Hee circulated a petition among Langley residents that called on the provincial government, Langley Memorial Hospital Board and the mayors and councils of the City and Township of Langley “to implement ways and means to collaborate to remove parking fees placed upon us or our vehicles while attending the hospital emergency department premises for medical reasons during and up to a four hour period.”

Hee set a goal of 2,500 signatures, only to see numbers top 3,500.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Stairs used for exercise in Chilliwack designated one-way only

The Jinkerson stairs were so crowded over the weekend that city officials had to do something

Chilliwack companies offer free meals, discount on gas for health-care workers and first responders

Sangam restaurant handing out 50 lunches a day, Chevron offers $10 off gas

Shots fired in Abbotsford, but no victims or suspects found

Incident occurs Tuesday afternoon at Whatcom and Old Yale roads

Family medicine still available just different in the age of COVID-19

Local health officials send reminder that doctors are still providing care, by phone or video chat

Birthday parade rolls through Chilliwack spreading cheer to those on their special day amid COVID-19

People in the long line of cars drive by honking, singing ‘happy birthday’ and waving signs

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Heavy delays as Coquihalla closes southbound

Highway 5 is closed southbound, between Hope and Merritt

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC heart surgery patient rarely leaves home

James Jepson is especially vulnerable to the novel coronavirus

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Most Read