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

School buses for SD91 to start running from June 1

Parents urged to drop off and pick kids up whenever possible

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

New traffic lanes for Six Mile west of Burns Lake coming soon

Construction to begin on lane extension and traffic improvement

Coastal GasLink pipeline work ramps up

With spring thaw ending, workers start to arrive for summer season

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

UPDATE: B.C.’s Central Kootenay issues evacuation orders for hundreds of residents due to flooding

An evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

PHOTOS: Thousands gather at Vancouver Art Gallery to protest racism

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Number of students returning is a wild card as B.C. schools reopen Monday

A common model will see other teachers work four days a week in class then the fifth remotely,

Most Read