Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

COUNCILLOR SEES A NEED – It may be time to think about reopening a free store at the city dump, Coun. Laura Cabott told city council Monday evening. The closed store is seen here in August 2016.

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

Coun. Laura Cabott

Councillor wants free store reopened

Whitehorse city Coun. Laura Cabott wants a new discussion about the possibility of reinstating a free store at the landfill.

By Chuck Tobin on October 10, 2019

Whitehorse city Coun. Laura Cabott wants a new discussion about the possibility of reinstating a free store at the landfill.

Many of the other communities offer free store services at their landfills, she told her council colleagues at Monday night’s council meeting.

Cabott suggested council might want to consider having the question of bringing back a free store at the dump be put on the schedule for a future meeting between members of council and senior administration.

“I do not understand,” she said. “It’s good enough for Haines Junction but it’s not good enough for Whitehorse.”

Cabott said the Mount Lorne landfill has a free store.

Many of the municipal dumps in the territory off a free store, she insisted.

The city closed its free store in April 2016 after issues around safety for staff surfaced when a hypodermic needle was found in clothing that had been dropped off.

On a previous occasion, a city staffer had been pricked by a needle buried amongst clothing dropped off and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

The closure of the free store at the landfill saw the other two locations that accepted discarded goods for reuse – the Salvation Army and Raven Recycling – inundated with donations, many of them with no value.

Both the Salvation Army and Raven Recycling eventually closed their drop-off depots.

Staff told Cabott there’s been no discussion recently regarding reopening the free store at the city landfill.

It was also pointed out the free stores in the communities are operated by volunteers, and if Whitehorse wanted to offer the service, it would require additional staffing.

The volume of material received at the Whitehorse landfill is much greater than what goes into the landfills at the smaller communities, it was pointed out.

Cabott noted the free store at the Whitehorse landfill was not staffed by city personnel.

She said council might want to consider a weekends-only free store where city staff can examine what is being dropped off to ensure the items are indeed reusable and worthy of being placed in a free store.

Comments (12)

Up 2 Down 4

L. Leong on Oct 16, 2019 at 2:25 pm

It is shameful that there is no way to put useful items/materials aside for reuse. Landfills do eventually fill up. The cost of construction of a new landfill is way higher than a part-time staff person. The more we can divert the better. Mount Lorne Transfer station can do it, why do we have so much trouble here? The City of Whitehorse set Zero Waste by 2040 as a goal. How is that going to happen? We need to begin to think of our society as a circular economy, like an ecosystem, the waste feeds new life/products. Paying for staff to facilitate the reuse needs to be considered a necessary cost to society, like water supply, sewage disposal, garbage disposal, etc. So bravo Laura Cabott. You are doing a the hard work that our Councillors were elected to do. Thank you!

Up 8 Down 4

Juniper Jackson on Oct 15, 2019 at 4:32 pm

I wear thick support shoes...I picked up a needle, sticking right out the end of my shoe on the walkway in the park. They are everywhere, in our alley's by our garbage dumpsters, in our parks. Its not as bad as say.. Vancouver parks..but it's bad enough you have to be alert about them.

That being said..a free store.. hire someone to man it.. demand ID from everyone dumping off free stuff.. bag it and mark it. Clean it up..garbage to garbage, decent stuff to the shelves. Make it a criminal offence for anyone to dump off free items with harmful items in it. Needles? Drugs? even a can of bear spray.

One time, I could walk then, but I had a pair of runners with a hole in the toe, I was at the free store, a young family came in to dump their garbage, and we chatted a minute, it was cold.. and they gave me a brand new pair of boots.. They were going to give them to someone else I think, but when they saw my shoes, they gave them to me..solid, wonderful boots, made by Merrell..I wore them all that winter, and the next two for warmth, now I wear them for warmth and safety. I don't know who they were..I think of them every day of winter.. So, a free store for sure.. but a safe one.

Up 21 Down 1

David on Oct 15, 2019 at 8:24 am

Great idea! Whitehorse really needs a free store. Even if they have to pay someone to manage it to ensure people don't abuse it by trying to dump their garbage there I think that would be worth it.

Up 6 Down 4

Michael Miller on Oct 14, 2019 at 3:15 pm

There is a major drug problem in town so concerns about needles at the free store are justified.

I would like to see a thrift store in the new bus terminal, it would add a lot to that part of downtown. Think about it, after an expensive latte and visiting all the expensive stores downtown you could save a few dollars.

Up 26 Down 29

Yukoner on Oct 11, 2019 at 9:31 am

Maybe the councillor should volunteer to run it, if she feels so strongly.

Up 39 Down 10

Guncache on Oct 10, 2019 at 10:15 pm

How do we know that maybe the needle was just planted or a story the city made up to justify closing the store? The COW used to issue scavenging permits for a fee. They then jacked the price of the permit way up and then cancelled it. The free store should be re-opened and scavenging permits should once again be issued. Scavengers should be required to wear a safety vest with an identification number on it. If that person doesn't follow the rules then you ban them from further scavenging. You don't punish everyone. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

Up 16 Down 14

JC on Oct 10, 2019 at 9:48 pm

These cheechakos afraid of little needle.

Up 28 Down 1

Terry Berquist on Oct 10, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Format would need to changed. Almost every drop-off that I witnessed was met by the same groups of car driving individuals who offered to "help" unload but would then hand-pick so that most desirable items would go straight to their own vehicles, never seeing the inside of the building. Too much for single families, garage sales?

Up 25 Down 5

Always Questions on Oct 10, 2019 at 6:33 pm

There must be 'safety' gear as simple as proper GLOVE materials and training and awareness that could reduce the risk of a future needle prick?

Up 33 Down 6

Nannce on Oct 10, 2019 at 5:39 pm

Maybe somebody finally grabbed a brain. I would love to know how much more useful stuff has been dumped into the landfill.

Up 40 Down 10

Groucho d'North on Oct 10, 2019 at 4:31 pm

It was the lawyers that put the fear of litigation into the City Council when a hypo needle was found in the Whitehorse Free-Store- that's why it was closed down.

Up 77 Down 9

Hoby Irwin on Oct 10, 2019 at 3:30 pm

Best idea to come out of city council since their election

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