Saturday, May 16, 2020

Red on White - There's Your Problem.

Many Vancouver Islanders get a little uncomfortable when they spot a white licence plate with red letters. That means a stranger in our midst, an Albertan. Not without cause Alberta has become associated in the minds of locals with bullying and threats and now there's the Covid-19 factor.
Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne says her seaside British Columbia community is nervous about an onslaught of sand and surf seekers this long weekend, but is hoping any visitors think twice and turn around once they hit an information checkpoint run by RCMP and Parks Canada outside of town. 
This ask-not-demand approach worked well over Easter, where dozens of cars a day were informed the grave risk an introduction of COVID-19 could bring to the one-ventilator community and volunteered to drive east back to their homes or other parts of Vancouver Island, she said. 
"It wasn’t about defiance, they just hadn’t really thought about their impact on other people ... one group of people [told Mounties] ‘we’re just bored at home and went for a drive,’” says Ms. Osborne, who closed her 10-room lodge two months ago but has kept her botanical garden open for locals wanting respite from the stress of pandemic life. 
This long weekend is the unofficial start to summer, but mayors of tourist hotspots across B.C. are worried people buoyed by reports of fewer new confirmed cases will venture further afield and introduce an outbreak into their communities. And different rules between provinces are magnifying the tension in the southeastern part of the B.C., where the economy depends on an influx of tourists and owners of vacation homes from Alberta.
Islanders have worked hard and given up much to get Covid infection rates remarkably low. That wasn't done so that outsiders would see the island as a safe place to vacation. There are all sorts of connotations to that, some good, some not.


Anonymous said...

Precisely how New Brunswick and also PEI feel as well. No deaths, no new cases for days and strict border controls, unlike NS.

I just went to your BC Gov website and you're at Phase 2 on this page:

"In this phase, we are asking people to stay close to home and avoid any travel between communities that is not essential.​"

Then Phase 3 beginning in June, June to September

"If transmission rates remain low or in decline, people can begin travelling throughout B.C."

With Phase 2 currently in effect, surely your BC government is closely monitoring who's getting on ferries from the mainland? Vancouver Island is one thing, what about all the smaller islands? And the Easter weekend crowd out for a "drive" to Tofino were fellow Islanders too dumb to read the webpages. I can believe that, the same kind of group of vacuum heads clog up my scenic two-lane highway here in NS. Commonsense and the logic are not a feature of the common herd.

You seem to be all up in arms about something people aren't supposed to do anyway - travel needlessly and the Ferry system is as good a checkpoint as there is to stop mainlanders from contaminating your locale considering the low number of flights and their cost. So I say ? to this post.


Toby said...

There is a problem, Mound, and I don't know how to respond. Here in the Okanagan we see lots of those Wild Rose licence plates; they're all over the place. I'd like to see mandatory two week quarantine for anyone crossing Provincial borders but I won't hold my breath.

The Disaffected Lib said...

BM "what about the smaller islands?" It hasn't been that many years since we got them to stop human sacrifice. From what I understand some are prepared to repel boarders. Where they're having problems is with fishing and hunting guides who want to bring customers in, no questions asked. The classic conundrum. For the guides, this is their bread and butter - the summer months when clientele come from across North America and Europe. A lot of them operate remote camps scattered along remote inlets (fjords) and they figure that's protection enough for the town and village folks.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Of course, Toby, that would be a death blow to the tourism industry and, in BC, they have a lot of clout with Victoria. If you were to do that, how would you treat long haul truckers, train crews and such?

Toby said...

The same way it is done at the border with the US. Essentials are crossing.

Trailblazer said...

If any industry "has'" to suffer it must be the travel industry.
We cannot allow access to those from provinces or states that do not follow BC guidelines .
To do so could well undo the sacrifices we have, here in BC, made to halt the progress of Covid19.
We must learn from New Zealand not Donald Trump.

Keep them out , keep them out.


Northern PoV said...

I hear y'all. Visitors pose a contagion threat for sure. Fear of outsiders is a healthy reaction in the circumstances.

So ...
Are Tofino folks venturing to the east of the Island to shop? Are Islanders coming to Vancouver?

A much bigger contagion threat is when the residents of a place return from travel. Residents have a much higher R-factor than visitors.
(Quebec/Ontario March break returnees get credit for their high numbers.)

Stay home.

The Disaffected Lib said...

NPoV - I know of only one local who went to the Lower Mainland. It was an ill-advised trip to see her newly-minted baby granddaughter. By her account, she got in her car and stayed there all the way to her daughter's home. She went in, spent some hours visiting, returned to her car and stayed there until she reached her home in Nanaimo.

I assume the people of Tofino and Ucluelet drive to Port Alberni periodically to Home Depot, Canadian Tire and the chain grocery stores.

As for locals returning from abroad our grocery stores, or at least some of them, display signs telling them to leave pending quarantine and to send a neighbour to shop for them. A friend of mine from Ottawa drove back from Florida. Their neighbour went shopping and had their fridge and pantry stocked before they arrived home into quarantine.

Overall I think we're doing pretty well. I just renewed my car insurance online and via telephone. Slick as can be. The last couple of months of self-isolation ensured that I qualified for ICBC's "low mileage" discount. However it also reminds me how much I wind up paying per km. compared to the average driver. Then I figure out my age, my seriously low annual mileage, the approximate lifespan of an ordinary car, and I realize that car is going to outlive me by a good many years.

the salamander said...

.. I am feeling nicely impertinent Mr Mound
Might I suggest you re-watch The Motorcycle Diaries ?

Vancouver Island is an absolute gem within Canada eh
no more, no less than PEI.. or Baffin Island.. or Point Pellee

Much as I would love to join you for a Tofino chowder
and would bring a loot box full of Malpeque - harvest date yesterday..


Methinks (from Ontariario) the big island should stay tight..
Are you part of the solution.. or part of the problem.. ?
That should be a no-brainer ..

Duh ..

Toby said...

Think about what it takes for Albertans to get to Tofino on Vancouver Island. The drive from Edmonton to Prince Rupert takes about 16 hours. Add the all night ferry trip down the Inside Passage to Port Hardy then another 7 hours driving to Tofino. That does not include stops for gas, food or asking directions or sleeping. People undertaking a trip like this are not running out to stock up on groceries, pharmaceuticals or make local visits while maintaining 2 metre social distancing.

Many parts of BC, including where I live depend on tourist dollars to grease the economy. In normal times we see licence plates from all over North America and a few from Europe. We welcome them all. But, right now, the issue is a virus that doesn't care about our normal. We have been given the expert advice: wash our hands, limit out contacts with other people, maintain social distancing and stay home.