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

Online video series to feature writers from Tofino and Ucluelet

Quite Determined series launched to showcase creative minds whose speaking events were cancelled.

Ucluelet releases COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Part of the recovery plan involves deploying three district staff as COVID-19 Community Monitors

Tofino mayor urges “kindness” as tourism reopens

“Health and safety matters to everyone.”

Resorts in Tofino and Ucluelet prepare to reopen in June

“We need to get the tourist economy in our communities back up and running.”

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve plans limited reopening on June 4

The Park Reserve shut down on March 18 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

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

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read