Advertisement

Vancouver binners’ event left scrambling after being displaced by film shoot, organizers say

Click to play video: 'Vancouver binners’ event left scrambling after being displaced by film shoot' Vancouver binners’ event left scrambling after being displaced by film shoot
WATCH: Organizers of an annual Vancouver event that puts thousands of dollars into the pockets of the city's binners are raising concerns after they were forced to change venues at the last minute to make room for a film shoot – Sep 26, 2021

Organizers of an annual Vancouver event that puts thousands of dollars into the pockets of the city’s binners are raising concerns after they were forced to change venues at the last minute to make room for a film shoot.

The Vancouver Binners’ Project has held its Coffee Cup Revolution event at Victory Square at Cambie and Hastings streets since 2014, with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic.

The one-day event offers binners — people who collect cans and bottles to return for their deposits — a cash refund for disposable coffee cups they collect.

Read more: Many binners used to have to steal shopping carts. Now, for $5, they can rent this one

Binners’ Project director Sean Miles said it acts as an important source of income for binners, while making a case for the environmental and social benefits of applying a deposit to single-use cups.

Story continues below advertisement

In 2019, binners collected just shy of 100,000 cups in a single day, diverting them from landfills to recycling.

“It’s really important. This is a day, especially now that it’s gone up to 10 cents a cup, that you could make $200 or $300,” veteran binner Michael Leland told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver recycling community gifting binners with warmth' Vancouver recycling community gifting binners with warmth
Vancouver recycling community gifting binners with warmth – Dec 14, 2019

“This is our big day, this is what started it all. Being able to come here really made a big difference.”

But Miles said with just a month to go before the event was to take place, the Vancouver Park Board notified it that it was getting bumped from the location to make way for the shoot.

“We had already started promoting the event, we had gone through the permit process, we had paid for our permit. We, for all intents and purposes, thought we were ready to go,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Vancouver project hopes to install hooks in back alleys to help local binners

“We were shocked and frustrated, frankly, especially given there was no discussion about it, it was not a matter of maybe or this might happen, it’s, ‘This is happening, it has happened.'”

Organizers scrambled to find a new location, settling on Oppenheimer Park, but Miles said it will end up costing about $5,000 more.

More concerning, Miles said, was the possibility that many people who rely on the event might not know about the change in venue.

Click to play video: 'Month of Giving Back: Binners’ Project' Month of Giving Back: Binners’ Project
Month of Giving Back: Binners’ Project – Dec 10, 2019

Many of the participants are from a vulnerable population who doesn’t always have access to reliable communications, he said.

“They’re going to assume it’s here. They’re going to come here,” he said, adding that organizers would now need staff at the original site to redirect participants to the new location.

Story continues below advertisement

“Making a change in location is something that’s going to have an impact on who comes to it and how successful the event is.”

Coffee Cup Revolution will now go ahead at its new location on Oct. 7.

Global News requested an interview from a Vancouver Park Board spokesperson but was told no one would be available by deadline on Sunday.

Read more: Western part of Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park reopens to public

Nadia Tchoumi, spokesperson for Vancouver’s Union Gospel Mission, called the move “disappointing,” adding it raises important questions about who gets to use public space in the city.

“Who are they for? Are they just going to be available to the highest bidder depending on the event that comes along?” Tchoumi said.

“When you have an event like this that is such a longstanding event that has made such a contribution to the community … I think you have to question why this even really wasn’t given the appreciation and the priority that it deserves.”

She said she’ll be watching the park board closely to see if similar events get bumped.

Sponsored content