Windsor

7 months, 44,000 needles disposed of in sharps bins in Windsor

The community services and parks standing committee is recommending five more sharps disposal bins go out into the community. 

'We're not asking for additional funds'

A needle disposal container located in downtown Windsor collected an estimated 500 used syringes in its first week. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

The community services and parks standing committee is recommending five more sharps disposal bins go out into the community. 

Jelena Payne, commissioner of community development and health services, said some of the existing bins are owned and serviced by community agencies, including the Windsor Essex County Health Unit and the AIDs committee. 

"We had donations from five sources for an additional five bins," said Payne about a previous request made by the committee. "We asked council to purchase five bins, and that's the program that's been in place."

Coun. Chris Holt said the current system is "haphazard" and relies on different organizations to do different things. Payne said that's not the case. 

According to Payne, the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre has offered to donate five more bins, which would bring city-maintained bins up to 15. 

"That's within the existing budget that council gave us to manage the bins in 2018," said Payne. "We're not asking for additional funds."

Within days of the first bins being installed, 500 needles were collected at just one location. To put the first ten bins into the community, the city paid for five, two were paid for from ward funds, two by the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association and another by the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation. Nine have been installed so far.

According to the report, most of the attention has been focused on the downtown core but 311 data shows that calls regarding discarded needles have come from all 10 wards in Windsor. 

"Between January to July of this year, we have collected 44,000 needles that would have ended up in our parks, playgrounds, alleys and streets," said Payne. "We get calls all the time about improperly discarded needles. This is a great investment."

The project initially intended for monthly pickups, but an additional pickup has been scheduled four times due to overflowing bins. 

Maintaining the asked-for 15 bins would cost about $53,000 for twice-monthly maintenance, which Payne said falls within the $65,000 amount approved by council in 2018. 

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