Vancouver Island in British Columbia has experienced an influx of tourism over recent weeks. It follows after COVID-19 Restrictions in British Columbia entered its 3rd Phase, which permitted local tourism amongst all civilians in the process. International tourism is still restricted to Americans, Europeans, Asians, and Middle Eastern’s. Premier John Horgan of British Columbia was pleasantly surprised when local tourism numbers drastically rose, assisting communities like Tofino & Ucluelet in their regrowth after COVID-19. Some locals aren’t pleased with the rise in tourism, noting the negatives tourists placed onto communities & wildlife.
Businesses and residents nearby Vancouver Island have begun evoking their anger, stating that fellow British Columbians aren’t abiding by local bylaws. This extends towards rude behaviour towards shop owners and local homeowners. Streets have also become littered in the trash, extending towards Vancouver Island’s beaches & wildlife zones. Considering that Vancouver Island is some of Canada’s most premier real estate, with millions being spent on small homes, it’s understandable to feel the discontent of these homeowners.
Aaron Turner, the Captain of Hot Springs Cover Ferry, has expressed notable disappointment towards visitors. His sentiments show zero respect towards locals & their wildlife environments. This is shocking for Aaron Turner, who Captains a whale-watching vessel. However, Mr Turner also noted the importance that tourism plays onto the Vancouver Island economy.
Turner spoke with local reporters, noting that garbage is being left on trails & beaches at high volumes. British Columbians & Albertans have camped illegally in various areas of Vancouver Island, including Tofino District. Captain Aaron Turner also mentioned that visitors are demanding specialized treatment & refusing to listen by local bylaws, which state face masks must be worn inside local businesses. It’s resulted in numerous Tofino & Ucluelet locals being physically assaulted for requesting the law be respected.
The anger has reached levels that Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne is beginning to get involved, noting that local law enforcement will begin ticketing & arresting those that refuse to co-operate. When British Columbia’s Premier John Horgan was questioned on the issue, he quickly diverted towards other problems stemming from COVID-19. It shows that John Horgan would instead leave the people of Vancouver Island to deal with these problems than enforce policies on a provincial level.