Vanderhoof reuse shed expected to reopen in weeks

During a recent meeting of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, staff recommended the reuse sheds to reopen under certain conditions.

Vivian Chui and Flavio NienowBlack Press


Vanderhoof’s reuse shed is expected to open “within weeks”, with the possible participation of the Vanderhoof Menshed Society.

During a recent committee of the whole meeting of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN), the committee recommended to the board of directors that the re-use sheds reopen under certain conditions.

Regional district staff have been developing minimal standards associated with the operation of the re-use sheds to address liability issues. Recommendations made by a risk management company included implementing hours of operation at the re-use sheds, hiring staff to manage operation of the facilities and having regular inspections prior to opening and after closing.

For Vanderhoof, staff recommended the transfer station be open from Thursday to Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and that a temporary RDBN attendant be hired to operate the facility.

Other recommendations made by the risk management company included installing lighting to deter possible incidents during hours of darkness and improving signage at each shed regarding what can be dropped off and what should be redirected to recycling areas.

Prohibited materials will include:

– mattresses, couches, items with safety certifications

– car sets, booster seats, helmets

– broken items, hazardous materials

– cleaning products, pesticides, medication, cosmetics, as well as

– children’s cribs, cradles, strollers and other items with safety standards.

The RDBN had chosen to close all re-use sheds and ban salvaging activities at solid waste management facilities due to a number of troubling incidents directly affecting staff and public health and safety.

According to the RDBN, troubling incidents that took place at the re-use sheds include live ammunition found in a brown cassette tape brief case; prescription drugs left in a box; a dirty diaper found thrown in the corner of a re-use shed; and over 100 used hypodermic needles that were found in boxes mixed in with children’s toys. In addition, reports have been made regarding members of the public urinating and defecating behind a re-use shed.

Public consultation meetings were held in October and November 2015 in nine different communities. According to the RDBN, the approximately 200 members of the public that attended the consultation meetings were “very passionate” about the re-use sheds and many expressed disappointment with the closure of the facilities.


Menshed proposal

Another staffing option for the reuse shed may come from the Vanderhoof Menshed Society.

In February, the society presented to the district council three potential projects concerning reusable items this season:

1) weekly Saturday morning flea market beside the Burrard Market Square, starting mid-April

2) “Repair Cafe”, where items can be refurbished by society members for resale

3) drop-off station for donated goods, to be monitored by surveillance cameras

A new proposal in light of the announced reopening of the reuse shed is before the society’s board this week.

Mayor Gerry Thiessen says he hopes to have the reuse shed reopen “within weeks, not months.”

He added that the pending participation from the Menshed would be a three-win solution: reuse shed reopened, taking advantage of available capacity in repairing reusable goods, and allowing the society to become a self-funding operation.

“I’m excited that there are a number of options,” he said.