New West launches free sunscreen pilot project at Pier Park - tonight

A free sunscreen program in New Westminster is kicking off tonight with an information session at Pier Park.

New Westminster Parks and Recreation has partnered with Save Your Skin Foundation and the BC Cancer Agency to offer free sunscreen to the public at Westminster Pier Park from Aug. 14 to Sept. 30. The pilot will feature an automatic and touchless dispenser with Health Canada approved SPF 30 sunscreen, which will be available to all park users.

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“With summers getting hotter, it’s important to us that people protect their skin while enjoying our parks,” Mayor Jonathan Cote said in a press release. “Wear sunscreen and stay sun safe!”

New Westminster will be the first city in the Lower Mainland to pilot sunscreen dispensers, said a press release from the city.

“Studies show that young people still aren’t taking sun safety seriously despite incidence rates rising every year,” Kathy Barnard, a stage 4 melanoma survivor and founder of Save Your Skin Foundation, said in a press release. “Skin cancer can be deadly, but it is also highly preventable which makes it so important for people to take precautions.”

The public is invited to attend an information session on Wednesday, Aug. 14 from 5:45 to 7:15 p.m. at Westminster Pier Park.

Representatives from Save Your Skin Foundation and BC Cancer will have an info booth set up in Pier Park beside the Eats at the Pier concession stand, near the new sunscreen dispenser. They will be giving out informational resources, UV key chains and bracelets and will be speaking to people about sun safety and skin cancer awareness and answering questions about the sunscreen dispenser. 

Cote’s 2017 mayoral reelection campaign included the release of 50 ideas in 50 days, with one of those ideas being free sunscreen for public use. In a tweet he said the idea was sparked by hisdaughter Renee learning about melanoma cancer at school and discovering the City of Toronto provides free sunscreen in city parks.

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