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Delta bans clothing donation bins citing safety concerns

Owners have until Jan. 29 to remove the bins, after which the city will charge them for the removal
The City of Delta has banned clothing donation bins citing safety concerns. (James Smith photo)

The City of Delta has ordered that clothing donation bins be removed from the municipality, calling the contraptions “a significant risk to health and safety.”

Following last week’s move by the Delta School District to seal and remove all bins on district properties, the city now wants the owners of all donation bins located within Delta to remove them by 3 p.m. on Jan. 29.

Owners have until Jan. 22 to file for reconsideration. The city will begin removing any remaining bins on Jan. 30 at the expense of the owners.

Delta’s decision comes after two recent bin-related deaths — one of a man on Dec. 30 in West Vancouver and another of a woman in Toronto on Jan. 8 — sparked a national debate on the safety of the charitable devices.

Other B.C. cities have enacted outright bans after the deaths, including Richmond, West Vancouver and Burnaby.

Surrey, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are also considering banning the bins, and Inclusion BC has pulled all 146 bins it has in the province. The Surrey School District has also removed all 42 clothing donation bins from its properties.

READ MORE: Surrey reviewing clothing bin safety in wake of deaths

Delta council voted unanimously on Monday, Jan. 14 to ban the bins city-wide. In November 2017, council passed a bylaw banning donation bins from city property and rights-of-way, which has since cut the total number of bins from 80 to 34, according to a report by staff.

A press release issued Tuesday afternoon said the city staff will review Delta’s bylaws and recommend potential amendments that would allow for the return of donation bins to the community if they meet a “certain standard of safety.”

“The challenge will be determining how this standard can be met, tested, and enforced so that the hazard is effectively eliminated,” the release said. “Staff will examine other jurisdictions and industry to seek independently verified criteria that lead to a safe solution.”

Coun. Lois Jackson noted the recent media coverage of two people dying in West Vancouver and Toronto and said she was happy this order came before council. She added that bins are not necessary and there are services, such as Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, that Delta residents can call to have their unwanted garments picked up.

“Maybe there are other ways that this can be brought together,” Jackson said at council. “I am sure the communities are thinking the same thing, and hopefully the proceeds from these bins are helping all the souls that need it.”

The city’s press release notes clothing donations can still be dropped off at several location across Delta, including at the Delta Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop (4816 Delta St.) and Finds Children’s Exchange (5050 47th Ave.) in Ladner, the Delta Hospice Cottage Charity Shoppe (1521 56th St.) and Delta Youth Support Link Society Thrift Store (1308 56th St.) in Tsawwassen, and at the Salvation Army Thrift Store on the North Delta/Surrey border (#300 - 8066 120th St., Surrey). Diabetes Canada will also pick up clothing donations.

— with files from Amy Reid

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The City of Delta has banned clothing donation bins citing safety concerns, less than one week after the Delta School District made the decision to seal and remove the bins from all of its properties. (Saša Lakić photo)