Charities move to remove clothing donation bins after fifth death in B.C. since 2015

Charities move to remove clothing donation bins after fifth death in B.C. since 2015

WATCH: More charities are removing their clothing donation bins after the death of a man on New Year’s Eve in West Vancouver. That fatality the fifth in BC in just three years. Mary Griffin reports.

A clothing donation bin operated by Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Victoria and located at Saanich’s Tillicum Centre will be gone next week.

It’s part of a push to remove potentially deadly bins across B.C., according to Executive Director Rhonda Brown.

“We put a bin at the back of that site. And it’s been there for three years,” Brown said.

Big Brothers and Big Sisters operate a staffed trailer every day, but the smaller bin helps with after-hours donations.

“We have made the decision to remove the bin. Within the next week, we have someone coming to pick it up, within the next week,” Brown said.

A 34-year-old man died on Sunday in West Vancouver in a bin similar to this one, the fifth such death in BC since 2015. The city removed all bins earlier this week.

Don Evans, executive director of Our Place Society, said it’s time to do something.

“I think pulling the bins is the right thing to do. I mean, someone has lost their life. This is tragic. These are vulnerable people that are just trying to get warm. And so, we certainly do not want to put people at further risk,” Evans said.

The latest death occurred in a bin operated by Inclusion BC. This bin is one of 12 in Greater Victoria operated by that organization. Inclusion BC is removing 146 bins across the province, but not the newer bins with a rolling drawer until a safety evaluation is completed next week.

“It just goes to show how desperate people are. And how people are struggling. And we need to, ultimately, need to be housed or sheltered to be inside and safe,” Evans said.

And charities recognize the need to make a change.

“We’re part of a caring community, we’re certainly concerned for any risk that is presented through any business model,” Brown said.

Many agencies continue to accept donations at their offices and staffed trailers.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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