Former Langley council candidate Gary Hee said it only takes moments to quickly convert discarded election signs into lightweight sleeping mats for the homeless. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Langley man wants to recycle election signs into sleeping mats for the homeless

Rather than send them to landfills, former council candidate says signs can be repurposed

A former Langley council candidate has come up with a way to recycle election campaign signs into lightweight, dry sleeping mats for homeless people.

Gary Hee said he has been thinking about way to repurpose election signs ever since he ran for Langley Township council in 2018.

“I was driving down 200 street and I saw a whole mess of campaign signs,” Hee recalled.

There had to be a better way to dispose of the plastic notices than sending them to the dump, he felt.

“I asked the [other] candidates what are you going to do with them,” he related.

“[I said] if you don’t want them, give them to me.”

He ended up with about 800.

Hee demonstrated how sleeping mats can be made from campaign signs for the Black Press Media, using a cordless drill to sandwich several of them together into lightweight rectangles that can be combined to provide a full-length sleeping mat.

“They’re dry and warm,” Hee said, an better alternative to sleeping on the ground that doesn’t take up space and can be easily packed up.

Hee said signs from the current federal election campaign could also be repurposed for sleeping mats, but he wants to see if the idea gets some traction, before he makes another appeal for federal placards.

One church in Langley has expressed interest, Hee said, and he is hoping other agencies that assist the homeless will find the mats useful.

READ MORE: Used election signs could serve as emergency shelters, candidate says

This is Hee’s second bid to recycle the campaign signs.

Earlier on, he designed a small portable shelter for homeless people built with campaign signs, but the idea didn’t catch on.

“I ended using them for garden boxes,” he said.

Hee said a local Langley church recently accepted a donation about 20 sleeping mats, and told him they intend to consult with community groups about the idea.

READ ALSO: Hospital parking fee fight goes from Langley to PNE to Ottawa

Hee, a Surrey resident, got involved in Langley issues in 2014 when he organized a petition of local residents to call for traffic calming measures along 72 Avenue where it crosses the Surrey-Langley border.

Hee launched the campaign after there were a number of serious accidents where pedestrians were hit in the area of 72 Avenue and 198B Street.

READ MORE: Campaign calls for crosswalk at fatal 72 Ave. crash site

In 2016, the Township council voted to spend $1.6 million on safety improvements.

More recently, Hee circulated a petition among Langley residents that called on the provincial government, Langley Memorial Hospital Board and the mayors and councils of the City and Township of Langley “to implement ways and means to collaborate to remove parking fees placed upon us or our vehicles while attending the hospital emergency department premises for medical reasons during and up to a four hour period.”

Hee set a goal of 2,500 signatures, only to see numbers top 3,500.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

‘Unstoppable’ Nanaimo nurse recognized for work caring for survivors of assault

Island Health’s Aimee Falkenberg receives Canadian Forensic Nurses Association’s Visionary Award

Regional District of Nanaimo urges residents to sign up for new emergency alert system

RDN aligns its alert technology with Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach

‘Food 4 Summer’ campaign in Nanaimo receives $10,000 from Island Savings

Loaves and Fishes trying to build new donor relationships during pandemic

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Nanaimo woman will buy ‘supersonic’ hair dryer after $500,000 lotto win

Debra Allen won $500,000 in July 28 Lotto Max draw

Nanaimo tourism contest assures visitors ‘we’re ready for you’

Nanaimo Hospitality Association and partners offering prizes of hotel stays and tourism experiences

Nanaimo barber looks at new style for back-to-school fundraiser

Dave Lawrence of That 50’s Barber Shop getting tattoo in Fresh Start promo on Aug. 17

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

Designs come in for proposed student housing across from NDSS

City of Nanaimo reviewing development permit application for 160-unit Wakesiah complex

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Most Read