There are calls for improved safety measures after yet another death involving a Vancouver-area clothing donation bin.
This latest incident was discovered early Monday morning, when a woman tried to look inside a donation bin outside the West Point Grey Community Centre. It appears she climbed in head first, became stuck and died.
The woman’s boyfriend told Global News they recently became homeless and were living in a tent near Jericho Beach. When their stuff was stolen, the woman he called Svetlana tried to scrounge for something to wear.
From 2016: Man found dead in Surrey clothing donation bin
The fire department said such calls are becoming all too common.
“There is an entrapment hazard either in the bin or in the mechanism,” said Jonathan Gormick of Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.
There have been multiple deaths attributed to donation bins recently, including fatalities in Surrey and Pitt Meadows.
The gate mechanism on the bins is designed to keep the used clothing safe and secure, but doesn’t give much thought to people’s safety.
The mechanism, Gormick notes, is “designed to keep people out and it’s designed to keep people from sticking their arms in.”
There are are calls now to rethink how these bins are designed.
“We have experienced in Metro Vancouver three deaths in four years,” said Nicole Mucci of Union Gospel Mission. “One death is too many, three is a cry and a call for action.”
“There is a level of discrimination that’s happening because there have been several deaths,” said Saskia Wolsak, a resident who discovered the dead woman on Monday morning. “If this were a car with an obviously manufacturing problem… maybe the word would have gotten out quicker.”
The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating the death.