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More donation bins removed across Lower Mainland following deaths

FILE: A clothing donation bin in Nanaimo. A man died after being trapped in one of these bins belonging to Inclusion B.C. in West Vancouver. (Source: Inclusion B.C., Twitter)

The City of Burnaby is the latest municipality to take action with respect to donation bins, after more deaths

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – The City of Burnaby is the latest municipality to take action when it comes to safety issues surrounding donation bins.

It’s taking a two-step approach after a man died in West Vancouver over the holidays.

A number of organizations have donation bins set up at the Eco-Centre on Still Creek Drive — which are behind fences and staffed — and there will now be extra monitoring.

“We have asked staff to put additional monitoring of the bins and make sure they’re not accessed illegally, and also causing safety concern to people using the bins,” Lambert Chu, Burnaby’s city manager, tells NEWS 1130.

The city has also asked that additional safety signs be posted, cautioning people when they put clothing into the bins.

Chu says letters have also been sent to companies with bins on private property.

“To advised them of the city’s concern about the safety of the bins and asked them to undertake a review and take appropriate measures, including removing the bins from private property, as required,” he explains.

Chu adds the city does not allow the placement of donation bins on private property, other than at the Eco-Centre.

So far, he says there has been no response indicating concern to the city’s request.

“My understanding is all these not-for-profit organizations are doing this for a good cause. And if there are safety concerns, they will be glad to comply with the requirement.”

Related video: West Vancouver shuts down donation bins after death

The City of Vancouver says most bins have already been removed in that municipality, and West Vancouver has sealed off all bins since the death of a man on New Year’s Eve.

In Richmond, organizations have been given until Wednesday to remove bins from public property.

“We’ve been reviewing the situation, and given the safety concerns, we’ve asked the organizations that have bins on public property in Richmond to remove them within 24 hours,” Ted Townsend, who speaks for the city of Richmond, tells NEWS 1130.

He adds there has been a bylaw in place for about two years which allows the city to ask for quick removal.

If it’s not feasible for an organization to remove their bins within the time frame, Townsend says they’re asked to put locks on the containers.

“We’ll keep them off of public property until such time as safety modifications can be made to ensure that we don’t have the type of situations that have happened elsewhere.”

In New Westminster, staff say no one has made a request to the city to look into the issue of donation bins.

Meantime, Toronto is conducting a review of the steel boxes after the recent death of a woman who became trapped.

Since 2015, there have been at least eight deaths involving the bins across the country.