Retired Nanaimo couple told they can’t collect bottles at VIU

Watch Vancouver Island University says for the safety for students, staff and community members, anyone found collecting bottles or cans on campus will be asked to leave.

For 12 years, Kulwant and Narinder Parmar have been hitting the roads and trails around Nanaimo for up to three hours a day collecting cans and bottles.

“Rain or shine or snow I’m always there,” said Kulwant said.

Narinder Parmar is a retired mill worker. The couple says they don’t need the money, which is why at this time of year they’ve always given all the proceeds to charity. Last year $1,550 went to the SPCA.

“We do SPCA, we do Hospice, we do the Salvation Army. Every year is a different charity,” said Kulwant.

Sometimes they collect $20 worth of cans and bottles in a single day and one of their main stops is the campus at Vancouver Island University (VIU).

“We get the dorm, we always walk around and because lots of students know we pick up the cans they leave them behind the bins,” she added.

But now VIU has told them they can’t collect there anymore.

“They don’t want to let us pick up the bottles and cans. It’s some sort of new management,” said Narinder.

“They said too many junkie people came and we have to treat you guys the same as them. I said we are not junkies,” said Kulwant.

Ironically the Parmars said they were planning to donate this year’s proceeds to the VIU Scholarship Fund. The proceeds will still be going to the fund.

VIU released this statement on Wednesday afternoon.

“VIU is committed to ensuring a safe campus for all of our students, employees and community members. Collecting bottles on campus poses a health, safety and liability risk. VIU security staff will ask anyone they see collecting bottles and cans on our campuses to leave. While we respect and appreciate the generosity of the Parmar family, we must apply this policy fairly to everyone.”

“VIU collects bottles and cans on campus and puts 100 per cent of the proceeds into our emergency bursary fund, which benefits students in high need. The one exception is a bin at VIU’s Students Residences set up for the Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. Students can voluntarily put their bottles and cans in this bin to benefit this charity.”

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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