The District of West Vancouver shut clothing donation bins and was looking at options to either make them more secure or remove them following the death of a man on Dec. 30. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

The District of West Vancouver shut clothing donation bins and was looking at options to either make them more secure or remove them following the death of a man on Dec. 30. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Maple Ridge groups find ways to make clothing bins safer

The bins are being retrofitted or pulled off the street

Organizations in Maple Ridge seem to be finding ways to keep people from getting trapped in clothing bins.

According to city engineer David Pollock, some groups appear to be retrofitting their donation bins or pulling them off the streets voluntarily.

In a summer 2017 report to council, Pollock said staff noted there were as many as eight bins at different locations around the city. However, when bylaw enforcement staff went looking for bins in the city earlier this month, they found only three left.

He said one of the three bins is a different design from those causing fatalities, and one has been removed from public access.

The bins have been responsible for eight fatalities across Canada as people became stuck in them, including the death of Anita Hauck. She was a homeless woman and advocate for people living on the streets in Maple Ridge, and for whom Anita Place Tent City has been named.

The most recent death was a man found dead in a clothing donation bin in West Vancouver in December. That sparked four Lower Mainland municipalities to completely ban the bins, most recently Pitt Meadows.

READ MORE: Third B.C. city bans clothing donation bins after recent deaths

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

Leanne Koehn of the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society in Maple Ridge said they are now keeping their bins in a gated area that is patrolled by security at night. She said danger presented by the bins is well known, because of Hauck’s tragic death.

“There’s an awareness now – the bins are in view of the public and the staff,” Koehn said.

Another organization grappling with this issue is responsible for about 300 bins across the Lower Mainland.

The Developmental Disabilities Association has managed to deploy an older design of bin that is safer, while removing all of its new bins.

“We’re in talks with municipalities about clothing bins, but we’ve swapped all the mailbox-chute bins with open-chute bins,” said Kevin Chan, communications manager for the association.

Chan said the newer, more dangerous bins have a “mailbox chute” that is designed to deter theft.

The older design that the association has now put back on the streets is a simple chute, so if people get inside the bins, they can get back out because there are “no pinch points,” he said.

While the association expects some increased losses of donated clothing, Chan said it will readily accept those losses if it means improved safety.

He said the mailbox-chute bins are in storage until a retrofit can be found, and he noted the UBC Okanagan engineering school is working on how to make them safer.

READ MORE: UBC prof hopes students’ idea to retrofit clothing bins will prevent deaths

For its part, Inclusion B.C. has announced it will be taking all of its 146 bins out of service until they can be modified and made safe.

“We will continue to work with our bin manufacturer, municipal authorities, design experts and community partners to formalize and promote the adoption of industry-wide safety standards to keep our communities safe,” the organization said in a release.

The B.C. Children’s Hospital has also removed its donation bins. Spokesperson Nuzda Stenner said they are also looking at making them safe.

“Because of the tragedies that have taken place, we have to retrofit,” she said. “So people can’t get in there.”

Stenner noted the hospital has a bin at the Maple Ridge recycling centre, operated in partnership with the Salvation Army, but it is left unlocked, so that anyone who gets inside can get out.


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

The Delta Police Department’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Unit: (from left) Const. Joel Thirsk, analyst Jody Johnson and Staff Sgt. Sukh Sidhu. (Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police respond to rising number of hate crimes

Police have received 15 reports so far in 2021, compared to 12 in all of 2020

Marchers supporting Indian farmers rallied in Surrey last month, from Bear Creek Park to Holland Park along King George Boulevard. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey MP says mayor’s motion to support Indian farmers is his to make

“He has his own sovereignty, right,” Sukh Dhaliwal says

Researchers say residents should leave sleeping bats alone while they exit hibernation. (Cathy Koot photo)
Spring ‘signal’ brings White Rock, Surrey bats out of hibernation

Community Bat Programs of BC says it’s best to leave sleeping bats alone

(Photo: Creative Outlet)
YOUR MONEY: Tax tips for a complicated tax season involving CERB and more

With April 30 tax deadline, ‘it is important to understand the tax implications (benefits) will have’

This map illustrates the number of active COVID-19 cases in Greater Vancouver from April 4 to 10, 2021. (BC Centre for Disease Control image)
Active COVID-19 case in Delta hit new high

262 cases for the week of April 4 to 10, most since BC CDC began releasing weekly city-level data

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

Most Read