Surrey needle cleaning program may run out of funds

A program that picked up 25,000 needles from Surrey parks last year might have to shut down due to lack of funding.

Shayne Williams with the Lockout Emergency Society says the ‘Rig Dig’ program is meant to empower people who may be suffering from addiction or are former users.

But one of the most important parts of the program is keeping parks clean and save for people to use.

“We collected just about 2,000 full cans of garbage last year, as well as 25,000 rigs in just about 1,900 hours with 222 people involved in the program,” he said.

Last year they had an annual budget of over $50,000. But the Provincial Gaming Grant they usually received was not renewed.

As a result, they’ve had to turn the volume of their operation down the last three months, running at about 60 per cent compared to 2015.

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They have appealed the government’s decision, but Williams says they haven’t heard back so they need to look for other options.

“That’s the focus of our development team right now, we’re writing grants and trying to find other funding sources.”

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