(David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, File)

(David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, File)

Mom concerned with needles found at Central Okanagan park

Maria Beinarowitz, who has a five-year-old son, said she’s noticed a fair amount at a Kelowna park

A Kelowna mom has noticed a significant number of discarded needles near Knox Mountain Park.

Maria Beinarowitz, an employee at Bread Co. in downtown Kelowna, said her business doesn’t have a needle disposal box, and they haven’t had problems with discarded needles at the bakery as they have a downtown patrol.

However, living close to the downtown area near Knox Mountain, she’s noticed a fair amount of needles in the park and at the beach.

“Go Sunday morning to the park and you notice needles. They’re everywhere along the beach, in the grass,” Beinarowitz said.

With a five-year-old son, she said it’s concerning, though acknowledged the park has been better this year than in the past.

READ MORE: ‘Call for needle pickup’ becoming routine

A fair amount of garbage is left in the park as well, she said, and the beach needs a good combing through.

According to the City of Kelowna’s needle park services, the number of needles found has fluctuated since 2014.

The highest amount was in 2017, with 1,602 in March alone. In 2016, Kelowna saw the most amount of needles collected per month on average.

For 2018, December had 211 needles found – a drop from previous months. The highest amount is in the spring and summer months.

READ MORE: Interior Health against needle buyback programs

Interior Health has said there are multiple factors as to why needle pick-up numbers fluctuate.

Tom Wilson, communications officer with the City of Kelowna, said staff could not comment on why certain times of the year more needles are collected.

READ MORE: Okanagan pharmacy buying back used needles

READ MORE: Okanagan restaurant employees threatened with contaminated needle

READ MORE: Kelowna business owner sees no cause for fears of street population

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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