Twisted Scissor Lounge owner Cathy Lewis stands next to the wall planter where she discovered a syringe buried in the soil. (Mike Gregory Photo)

Ladysmith business owner finds discarded syringe buried in flower planter

When Cathy Lewis dug her hands into a wall planter outside Twisted Scissor Lounge one morning earlier this month, the last thing she expected to find buried among the petunias was a syringe.

“It kind of freaked me out because I went to pull the plants out and just kind of missed it,” she said. “I didn’t even think about it because I always just stick my hands in soil – it’s just what you do.”

The owner of the business at the corner of First Avenue and Kitchener Street last re-potted the flower planter in May and it’s impossible to know for sure when the syringe was left behind because it would have been hidden.

“That’s what kind of worries me because there is little planters at everybody’s business here and there,” she said.

Not wanting anyone else to go through a similar experience, Lewis immediately alerted her staff and made a call to the town to let the public works personnel know about what she’d found.

An average of about two to three syringes are found in Ladysmith parks each year.

Parks, Recreation and Culture director Clayton Postings said staff are trained to know what to do if they come across one.

“It’s not something we get a lot of but our (parks and facilities) staff are all trained on how to dispose of, and handle sharpies, and within all of their trucks carry sharpie disposal containers.”

The town’s summer day camp staff also do an inspection of the site around the park and playground when out with children.

In Duncan, discarded syringes are such a growing concern that a review of policies and procedures was done prior to the BC Summer Games this past summer.

Needles were being found in the vicinity of the sport venues and organizers wanted to ensure best practices were in place to limit the exposure to athletes, coaches, officials and spectators.

Ladysmith also reviewed its own policies at that time and found them to be up-to-date with the lower risk level that exists here.

“We did a quick review with our staff and determined we didn’t need to change any of our policies,” Postings said. “They did down there (in Duncan) because of the volume but we didn’t.”

According to a document put out by the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s in the summer of 2017 called the Barefoot in the Park: Safe Needle Disposal Toolkit, “most people will not get sick by picking up or by being poked by a used needle. When viruses in needles are exposed to the open air, viruses usually die.”

Risks do include Tetanus or Staphylococcus Aureus infection, but there is negligible risk of Hepatitis B or C and a “very unlikely” risk of contracting HIV because of the air exposure.

In the case of the needle found outside Twisted Scissor Lounge, Lewis also wasn’t sure who to call and where to possibly take the dirty needle.

Luckily, Ladysmith Animal Hospital next door was able to assist with the resources they have available on site.

“I think it’s good for everybody just to be a little more aware that it can be laying around,” Lewis said. “Pets and kids and parks … I think we all just have to be more physically aware of this stuff.”

Postings also encourages people finding needles to call the town so they can document the information and continue discussions with RCMP around the issue.

“If someone needed one disposed we’d certainly make arrangements to do that,” he said.

Needle disposal kits are available at the Frank Jameson Community Centre and syringes can also be disposed of at the Peerless Road Recycling Depot as well as most pharmacies.

Have an opinion about this story? Email your comments and letters to editor@ladysmithchronicle.com

Just Posted

Local family invites the community to enjoy their Christmas light display

Kelly, Carrie, and Vincent Giesbrecht spent the last month decorating their home for the holidays

Japanese students visit LSS for cultural exchange

Ladysmith families hosted 35 students from Furukawa Gakuen High School

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

PHOTOS: Old Time Christmas 2019

Friday, December 6 was Ladysmith’s Old Time Christmas. Here are some of the highlights from the night

Student artwork on display in ‘Well Lit’ installation

Thoughtful Place Design, 49th Parallel, and Festival of Lights came together to showcase student art

B.C. woman charged in connection to stolen vehicle smash-up in Kamloops

Kersten Ina Peters was arrested in the Fraser Valley on Friday, Dec. 6

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

Truck with body inside found at bottom of lake near Kootenay ferry

Investigators believe no foul play is expected but are unsure how the vehicle ended up in the Arrow Lakes

VIDEO: Calgary man narrowly escapes from avalanche while running at Lake Louise

Bryon Howard caught the entire wild experience on camera

PHOTOS: Competitive Christmas light display takes sarcastic turn in Princeton

Heather King of Princeton took a creative and stress-free approach to her holiday display this year

RCMP asks Kootenay cannabis shop to remove image of famous Mountie from storefront

Owner happy to comply with RCMP, but wants more information first

BC Ferries adds 170 extra sailings for the holidays

6 a.m. and 10 p.m. sailings added for busy season

Anti-money laundering agency warns casinos to watch gamers playing with bank drafts

Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, known as Fintrac, issues operational alert

Most Read