The City of Vernon is launching the Folks on Spokes Pilot Project. Starting on April 8, 2019, the program will assist businesses with the clean-up of improperly discarded needles and garbage in local “hot spots”.
"There are two parts to the program," said Vernon Community Safety Office Coordinator Rachael Zubick. "One is the activation of the Sharps Hotline, a dedicated phone line where people can report improperly discarded needles for pick up. The second part is the daily clean up, where a team will focus on emerging or known hot spots in the downtown, between 8 and 10 a.m."
The program will operate Monday to Friday until October and work out of the Community Safety Office.
The Activate Safety Task Force requested support for businesses dealing with discarded needles and garbage, and the City of Vernon responded by funding Folks on Spokes. The Partners in Action supported the Community Safety Office with the research and design of the program, based on what was working well in other communities across BC.
The program will be staffed by peers (people with lived experience of substance use) as this helps to build awareness of the impact of discarded needles in the community. It also creates a sense of belonging and pride for participants, and builds relationships between peers, businesses and the wider community.
To report an improperly discarded needle or emerging hot-spot call 250-550-7841 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. After hours, the number will be forwarded to Vernon Bylaw Compliance.