British Columbia

Charity pulls 146 donation bins from across B.C.

Inclusion B.C. is pulling 146 donation bins from across B.C. after a 34-year-old man died in one in West Vancouver.

Inclusion B.C. to remove clothing donation bins in wake of West Vancouver death

A man climbs into a clothing donation bin in Surrey in August 2018. (Jake Sheridan)

A non-profit organization says it will remove its clothing donation bins after a Vancouver man died in one on New Year's Eve.

Inclusion B.C. says it has 146 bins currently placed in north and central Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast, the Interior and Metro Vancouver — ​including the one in West Vancouver where a 34-year-old man was found trapped and unresponsive and subsequently died at the scene. 

In a statement, the charity said an emergency meeting was held following the man's death and all member agencies agreed to pull their bins and put them in secure storage until safety modifications can be made.

Member organizations involved in the clothing collection program include: the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion, the Ridge Meadows Association for Community Living, the Richmond Society for Community Living, Inclusion Langley, The Shuswap Association for Community Living, Inclusion Powell River and the Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living,

Most donation bins are found in parking lots and along roadsides. While the design of these bins varies, most have hatches to protect donations from pests or thieves. But a person can become trapped in the mechanism, which can be fatal.

Four people have died in Metro Vancouver clothing bins since 2015, prompting homeless advocates to call for safer designs to protect people.

The bins are sometimes used by people who live on the streets and climb into them, trying to find shelter or looking for clothing.

Inclusion B.C. said it is working with mechanical engineering students at the University of British Columbia and the Canadian manufacturer that supplies the bins to design a new model that does not pose a safety risk.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Autism B.C. was a member of Inclusion B.C.'s clothing collection program.
    Jan 04, 2019 1:28 PM PT

About the Author

Bridgette Watson is an associate producer and writer at CBC Vancouver. You can reach her at Bridgette.Watson@cbc.ca or @Beewatz on Twitter.

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