In his first four days of clean-up, Eli said he found three needles and a crack pipe. Using rubber gloves for safety, he has picked them up and placed them in a safe disposal container. (Erin Christie/Morning Star) In response to the growing concern regarding the safety of local parks as residents report finding hypodermic needles near outdoor play areas in Vernon, Kai Eli, 25, has founded the Polson Avengers, a volunteer safety committee. (Erin Christie/Morning Star)

‘This place is a disaster;’ Polson Avengers cleanup expands

Polson Avengers find needles behind Vernon business

  • Apr. 25, 2018 1:30 p.m.

Vernon’s newest volunteer organization has shifted gears — from cleanup crew to advocacy group.

Since founding the non-profit organization earlier this month, Kai Eli, 25, and a group of 10 dedicated volunteers who call themselves the Polson Avengers have logged countless hours patrolling Polson Park collecting dangerous refuse and discarded needles.

Armed with needle-disposal containers, garbage bags, latex gloves, Eli often records videos and live streams cleanups to keep his ever-growing audience informed.

His latest live stream, recorded from the rear stairwell landing of the Wholesale Club at the corner of 34th Street in Vernon on April 24, garnered thousands of views within 24 hours after appearing on the Polson Avengers Facebook page early Tuesday night.

In the video, Eli — sporting a protective mask and gloves — points his camera down into the stairwell and expresses his disgust.

“I don’t know about you guys but anybody watching this at home needs to understand that the city needs to see this because this is fecal matter… there are needles down here,” he said, gesturing to the ground below.

“This is literal toxic waste, this is bad.”

Eli continued, urging members of local government watch the group’s videos in hopes that they would address the issue.

He said in the video that he decided to stop by the Wholesale Club on his way to Polson Park for his regular cleanup session after hearing from a fellow avenger that “workers” had been poked by a needle. Eli later clarified that the “workers” he referred to on Facebook are two private contractors that got “poked” by needles on two separate occasions.

Wholesale Club store manager, Matt Miskuski said Wednesday that none of the store’s employees had had any contact with the debris, and confirmed that no one, to his knowledge, had been “poked” by a needle.

Miskuski said landscaping on the property is contracted to a private company who regularly clean the area, but did not reveal the name of the company.

Unfortunately, he added, the area referred to in Eli’s video appears to be a popular spot and refuse seems to reappear as fast as it can be cleaned up.

Over the past few days, Eli’s post has earned the group, specifically Eli plenty of attention from residents and local media, but Eli said he hopes his message will get to the town’s decision-makers who can “do something.”

To see the video, visit the Polson Avengers on Facebook, or go to www.vernonmorningstar.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Needles, and other drug paraphernalia are found daily in Polson Park. (Erin Christie/Morning Star) Armed with latex gloves and a safe disposal container, Polson Avenger, Kai Eli, 25, spends a few hours of his time cleaning up the park he loved to play in as a child. In four days, Eli said he found three used needles and a discarded crack pipe in Polson Park. (Erin Christie/Morning Star)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Building to begin on Okanagan Rail Trail washroom

Project starts Monday, July 13, in Coldstream between Westkal Road and Kickwillie Loop

Campfires pop up at North Okanagan alternative summer camp

MacKenzie Camp near Mabel Lake in Enderby still trying fun things for summer despite COVID-19

Ex-Vernon Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Lake Country trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

Innovation Centre prepares to open doors to Vernon co-workers

Former restaurant re-imagined to host ideas from Vernon’s ‘hidden’ home-based workforce

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Security guard assaulted in Kamloops park thanks police, public for quick arrest

Glen Warner, 71, was attacked on July 2 by a man who was asked by Warner to not smoke

Portraits celebrating Syilx culture now on display at Kelowna International Airport

Sheldon Pierre Louis’ art will be on display at YLW from now until July 2021

After slow start, Summerland sees more tourism activity

Majority of visitors come from within British Columbia

EDITORIAL: Accommodating Okanagan fruit pickers

Campsite for agricultural workers to open in Summerland

Deer and moose die after being chased by dogs in South Okanagan

BC conservation officers are asking the public to control their pets

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Trail RCMP officer accused of criminal harassment, forcible entry

BCPS: The charges against Murchie date between 2017 and 2020

Most Read