TOFINO (NEWS 1130) — Tourists to Tofino are trashing the district’s beaches, leaving behind cigarette butts, beer cans, burnt driftwood, and even excrement.
Mayor Josie Osborne says while they welcome the visitors, frustration is mounting and crews — both paid and unpaid — are working overtime to clean up the mess.
Thanks to everyone for the sympathetic & supportive messages regarding trash woes. We’re staying solutions-oriented and working with amazing partners like @Surfriderpacrim on education, clean-ups & systemic change to make less waste. Please shout-out to them AND @TofinoCA staff! pic.twitter.com/CC4VgMiwpe
— Josie Osborne (@Josie_Osborne) August 21, 2020
It’s impossible to say exactly where the badly behaved beachgoers come from, but Osborne says the problems began when health officials started promoting travel within the province.
“We’ve been encouraged to have staycations in B.C. and enjoy our beautiful backyartds all over the province. No matter where we go we need to treat the environment and the people who live in the communities we’re visiting with respect and it’s unfortunate when we see this, it spoils it for everybody else,” she says.
“Residents are contacting us on almost a daily basis, telling us what they’re saying and expressing their frustration and their anger.”
The district is cracking down on “unacceptable behaviour” and “the unprecedented number of issues,” according to a statement.
“It’s been a struggle to keep up with reported problems,” the statement says.
“Instead of having a quiet summer, when the restart program was announced (Phase 3), we went from unusually quiet to a huge influx of tourists and a corresponding increase in problems we have not seen to this degree in the past.”
A staffing shortage has been resolved, and volunteers are pitching in, but visitors are being warned that there will be a zero tolerance approach when it comes to enforcing bylaws against littering and illegal camping.
Osborne has some advice for anyone planning a trip to Tofino.
“Bring your travel manners, bring your COVID manners. Leave behind your fireworks, and take home your garbage.”