In this photo posted to social media on May 2, needles and other garbage can be seen left on a picnic table near the playground at the Parksville Community Park. - Facebook photo

Residents furious after needles found near playground in popular Vancouver Island park

Rally planned to demand action following discovery at Parksville’s beachfront community park

Citizens are fed up after finding needles scattered around one of the mid-Island’s most popular parks.

Residents are upset after needles and other garbage was found left on and around a picnic table in Parksville Community Park, near the playground, on May 2.

A photo was posted on social media, showing the scene at the town’s signature waterfront destination, causing a stir from residents concerned for children playing in the park.

“That was feet away from our child’s playground so I snapped. I’m tired of it, everybody’s tired of it. We need to band together,” said longtime Parksville resident Deanna Breuker.

RELATED: Woman steps on dirty needle in Qualicum Beach

The mess has prompted Breuker to organize a protest for May 13 at 9 a.m. outside Parksville city hall. She hopes the city will put funds toward a task force that could provide 24-hour patrolling.

“Today was it for a lot of people, seeing that and knowing the layout of how far that picture was taken and exactly how many feet that was from that playground… it’s created a huge stir,” Breuker said. “We’re hearing it’s happening everywhere but we can’t control everywhere, we can only worry about us here and make change, or try to.”

RELATED: Island Health launches needle-awareness campaign

Deb Tardiff, communications manager with the city, said once advised or made aware of needles on city property, staff evaluate the situation and will remove the needles or call in a bio-hazard contractor if necessary.

The city does provide sharps containers in all city-controlled public restrooms located at the Community Park, Springwood Park, Foster Park and the Parksville Civic and Technology Centre.

Tardiff said there are patrols of the community park on a regular basis, although none after 11 p.m. when the gates close.

karly.blats@pqbnews.com

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