REVELSTOKE (NEWS 1130) — A decoy B.C. licence plate caught the eye of a Revelstoke city councillor Saturday, prompting him to repeat calls for tolerance for out-of-province tourists.
Cody Younker says the city is doing a healthy tourist trade this summer amid the pandemic.
“Lots of red plates,” he notes, referring to the popularity of the mountain city among nearby Albertans.
But one visitor spotted by Younker in a grocery store parking lot evidently wasn’t sure he would be embraced by locals.
“I noticed a unique B.C. licence plate that said Okanagan and had some B.C. flags all around it. I kind of took a closer look because I’ve never seen one of those before, and it almost looked like it was not real,” Younker says, adding he saw a man walk up to the car about 30 seconds later.
“He walked up to the vehicle and went to the front and pulled it off. He went to the back and pulled it off. Lo and behold, there’s Alberta plates underneath it.”
Younker says he thinks reports of vandalism or heckling of people with Alberta plates spurred this strange act of subterfuge.
“It was mind-blowing and it was really saddening at the same time that he felt that he needed to do that in order to prevent vandalism to his vehicle,” he says.
“There’s a lot of worry. You’ve heard stories from Penticton, Kelowna, Revelstoke. I mean why else would you put fake B.C. plates on your vehicle when you go into the grocery store and then as soon as you come out of the store you pull them off?”
We must do better at welcoming our Provincial neighbours. They should not fear having their vehicles vandalized because of the colour of their plates. Instead they should fear our #canucks winning the #StanleyCup!!
— Cody Younker (@CodyYounker) August 22, 2020
Although in the early days of the pandemic, non-essential travel between B.C. and Alberta was discouraged by public health officials in both provinces, there has never been an order prohibiting inter-provincial travel.
Vehicles with out-of-province plates became targets in Revelstoke back in June, triggering a public statement from the city’s mayor.
Younker says the spirit of that statement still applies, and he hopes people in town will welcome the crucial summer influx of Canadian tourists.
“We need those people to come; we need people from Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan. We need people from B.C. If we didn’t have tourism, our economy would be in a lot more dire situation than it is right now,” he notes.
Although capacity has been reduced in some restaurants and hotels, Younker says the city is on track to have a profitable summer.
Success this season is key, Younker concludes, since Europeans typically make up the bulk of visitors after Labour Day.
With files from Paul James