(Black Press file photo)

City’s safe needle task force moves ahead with Clean Team initiative, grant applications

The group has secured $12,000 in funding so far

The city’s safe needle disposal task force has confirmed $12,000 in funding so far to operate a Clean Team for one year and install drop boxes in different locations around Terrace.

The safe needle task force was created in June to establish a concrete plan to deal with rising reports of drug paraphernalia in the city. The committee is comprised of Terrace RCMP, Northern Health, the City of Terrace, Terrace Downtown Improvement Area, and Ksan Society.

Krysten Thomson, member of the task force and operations lead at Northern Health, gave an update to council on the group’s activities on Dec. 10.

READ MORE: Council briefs: safe needle task force close to wrapping up

“The task force focused on three main pieces of work to address the issue, the first one being the Safe Needle Disposal guide, the second being the safe needle disposal units and the third being the Terrace Clean Team project,” Thomson says.

On Nov. 22, funding for sharps containers was confirmed with $5,000 from Northern Health’s Imagine grant. The task force also received $2,000 from the Peer Engagement and Evaluation Project grant through the BC Centre for Disease Control, and $5,000 Harm Reduction grant from Kermode Friendship Society, a new stakeholder in the Clean Team project.

“[The project] is probably the most exciting to discuss,” Thomson says.

The initiative is modelled after Quesnel’s pilot project to address litter and paraphernalia found in the city.

Operating outside of the task force, the team would employ former and current drug users to sweep problematic areas of the city on a weekly basis and dispose of needles safely. Before, sweeps were handled by the city’s Leisure Services department.

Another piece of their work will be to engage in conversation with people vulnerable to substance use, to provide information on available supports, resources, and explain harm reduction strategies. Members of the Clean Team will receive training and education from Northern Health’s Intensive Case Management Team (ICMT).

“There is definitely a lot of literature to support that peer-to-peer conversations and support is more effective than health care providers or others trying to engage this hard to reach population,” Thomson says.

To finance THE Clean Team past one year, the task force is also applying for a provincial Crime Reduction grant of up to $75,000. The cost to hire two people to conduct sweeps a few hours a week is about $5,000 a year, Thomson says.

“Unfortunately that’s the one hesitation that I have with this project is the sustainability of it, to start this great work and then potentially take it away from these peers if we can’t continue to fund it,” Thomson explained when asked if the $12,000 budget was enough.

“But the plan at this point is to continue applying for grant applications…To increase the scope and get another peer, or increase the hours, we would have to up the budget.”

READ MORE: Drug-needle task force taking shape

The group has also finalized their Safe Needle Disposal Guide, a document modelled after the one used in Prince George to provide more information on safe needle disposal practices.

Safe Needle Disposal Guide -Terrace by Brittany Gervais on Scribd

The seven-page document outlines who to contact if needles are found, and how to discard them safely. It can be found online through the City of Terrace website and Northern Health’s website, with physical copies available at Terrace’s Health Unit.

Still missing in the guide is a map outlining where to find safe needle drop box locations in Terrace, though Thomson says the guide will be updated once the exact number and locations are determined.

So far, the Terrace Public Library and the George Little House have installed sharps containers.

“Ease of access to these drop boxes should reduce the instances of discarded needles and drug paraphernalia according to literature that we looked at,” Thomson says.

The first meeting between key stakeholders for the Clean Team initiative is scheduled for January 4, with last meetings for the task force to be set in the new year.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

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

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

Ellis Ross (left), BC Liberal party, celebrated with his wife, Tracey after being named the preliminary winner of the 2020 snap provincial election.
Ross presumptive Skeena winner in snap B.C. election

Election outcome will not be official until mail-in ballots are counted

Voting has officially closed throughout B.C. for the 2020 snap provincial election. (Clare Rayment)
Map of Skeena polling stations

Watch the updates on the map below as polling stations are counted throughout Skeena riding

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak forces closure of Kelowna school

The outbreak is the first within B.C.’s school system since classes resumed back in September

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout

Barely half of eligible voters cast ballots in snap election

Most Read