Couple collecting empties to feed VIU scholarship fund can’t pick up cans on campus anymore

Parmars have been picking up cans for 12 years; university now enforcing safety policy

Kulwant and Narinder Parmar are collecting empty cans and bottles for the VIU Foundation, but they’re no longer allowed to gather up empties on VIU property. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Kulwant and Narinder Parmar are collecting empty cans and bottles for the VIU Foundation, but they’re no longer allowed to gather up empties on VIU property. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

A Nanaimo couple trying to raise money for VIU’s scholarship fund has been asked to keep their efforts off-campus.

Kulwant and Narinder Parmar have been collecting empty cans and bottles for charity for more than a decade, donating the money to a different cause each year. This year, they say they’re raising money for the VIU Foundation – but they’re no longer allowed to gather up empties on VIU property.

Rupinder Parmar said his parents have collected more than 500,000 cans over the years, which has added up to $30,000 donated to various charities. VIU campus has proven a reliable source of empties. Rupinder said the university’s security guards all knew his parents by name and hadn’t objected to their activities until a recent change in policy.

“They’ve now told them, after 12 years, that they can no longer do that, that they can’t clean up the surrounding areas and the bushes that university’s neglected to clean up…” Rupinder said. “They just sit there and it litters the property and it looks bad on the community when you’re walking through that area.”

He suggested it’s his understanding that the policy is being enforced in response to people experiencing challenges with mental health and addictions who were collecting empties on campus.

“To compare [them with] my parents who are a retired elderly couple who do this out of the charity of their own hearts was kind of like a slap in the face,” Rupinder said.

He said “it’s kind of ironic” that this year’s fundraising is going to the VIU Foundation.

“They were hoping to raise as much as they could and now it’s kind of put a cap on what they wanted to reach,” he said.

RELATED: VIU hopes Giving Tuesday efforts can make education more accessible

RELATED: VIU scholarships created in honour of grad who died in plane crash

VIU associate vice-president of university relations William Litchfield said in an e-mail that VIU collects bottles and cans on campus and that money goes to the university’s emergency bursary fund. There is a bin for empties at the residence buildings, where students can place empties to benefit Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank.

Litchfield suggested the policy on collection of empties is part of ensuring a safe campus for students, staff and visitors.

“Collecting bottles on campus poses a health, safety and liability risk. VIU security staff will ask anyone they see collecting bottles and cans on our campuses to leave. While we respect and appreciate the generosity of the Parmar family, we must apply this policy fairly to everyone,” he said.

Rupinder said the family has received “a lot of community support” that he hopes might help change some minds.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read