Abbotsford Fire Rescue Services members work to help a woman escape from a clothing donation bin. Kevin MacDonald

City of Abbotsford eyeing clothing donation bin changes after B.C. death

Body found in West Vancouver bin over weekend was fifth death in four years, BC Coroners say

The City of Abbotsford is joining a growing group looking at removing clothing donation bins or making them safer, after a fifth death involving a clothing bin in four years.

The body of a 34-year-old man was found in a West Vancouver clothing bin early Sunday, according to the BC Coroners Service, with local police saying the body was discovered by an off-duty physician walking in the area.

It’s the fifth death involving donation bins since 2015, according to the BC Coroners Service, and that’s not counting the close calls. Last September, Abbotsford firefighters rescued a woman trapped in a clothing donation bin.

RELATED: Body found in West Vancouver clothing bin

RELATED: Abbotsford firefighters rescue woman in clothing bin

Those who have died or been trapped have typically been homeless, and are often trying to get items out of bins or use them for shelter during cold weather, advocates say.

With each incident, a chorus of advocates calling for changes to the donation system has grown. Now, the City of Abbotsford may be joining them.

“In light of the recent tragic incident in West Vancouver, the City of Abbotsford will be looking at all options regarding the use of donation bins in our community,” said city spokesperson Alex Mitchell in a statement.

“This information will be brought forward to Abbotsford City Council in the near future.”

RELATED: UBC prof hopes students’ idea to retrofit clothing bins will prevent deaths

RELATED: Man’s death prompts B.C. city to shut clothing donation bins

The District of West Vancouver announced Wednesday in a statement on its website that it would be closing donation bins and looking into removing them or using others that are more secure.

People in that municipality are being asked not to drop off clothing at bins, but rather go to locations like the Salvation Army Thrift Stores and Habitat for Humanity.

According to the City of Abbotsford “waste wizard,” a tool to help residents find how to dispose of waste and unwanted items, bins are set up for a variety of nonprofits, including Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, Developmental Disabilities Association and Inclusion BC.

Clothing donations can be taken directly to locations at the Abbotsford Bibles for Missions, MCC Centre Thrift Shop, Salvation Army, H&M and Value Village.

Diabetes Canada, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver and The Salvation Army all also offer to pick up clothing from your home.

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter


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