Barrie council agrees to give needle collection kiosks another shot

Kiosks were being used to dump trash

Take two for the needle collection kiosk pilot project in Barrie.

The pilot was paused in March when city councillors asked staff to look at needle kiosk designs that would accept needles but not trash.

“One of the bigger programs that was happening with these kiosks was the entrance or opening was big enough to put garbage in,” said Coun. Natalie Harris.

Council approved an amended motion from Harris which will see the current supplier modify the kiosks at no cost that will have a smaller opening to prevent people from putting garbage in. The $22,000 cost of the program will be funded by the community benefit reserve.

“The additional part of this motion is that the kiosks will be secured to the ground and that will help with vandalism,” Harris explained.

Eight units were originally utilized. In his report to council on Monday, Fire Chief Corey Mainprize indicated a larger concrete base to secure the kiosks will cost approximately $2,000 per unit.

“Staff continue to report no notable decrease in the number of discarded needles in the parks,” Mainprize reported. “Garden areas continue to be an ongoing health and safety concern for staff.”

Harris said the pilot really wasn’t given a chance because of the garbage issue, something Mainprize acknowledged, noting the data was often contaminated by the trash.

“The point of the pilot was to have a certain amount of needles disposed into the kiosks, and you could weigh it for learning how much was actually deposited into it, and we couldn’t do that at all,” said Harris. “Unfortunately, the pilot really didn’t get off to a good start because of that.”

She said this is a new pilot with a better design that will actually allow the city to see the success or not of the program.

No timeline was given for the modification of the kiosks.

The needle collection kiosks were installed in Sam Cancilla Park, Heritage Park, at the rear of the Collier Street Parking Garage, Kearsey Park, Berczy Park, Stephens Park, Queen’s Park and 83 Perry St. at the west entrance to Milligan’s Pond.

The decision must be ratified at the June 6 city council meeting.