B.C’s highway rest areas are a disgrace

I’ve got a job that should be top priority for our new Highways minister

I’ve got a job that should be top priority for our new Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

No, it’s not making the ferries part of the highway system (although after reading what I say later, BC Ferries might not want to be part of the highway system).

Nor is it scrapping tolls on bridges, although, that is a relief to the pocket book.

No, our very own Claire Trevena, North Island MLA and new Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, should do something about the disgusting state of our rest areas on the province’s highways.

Yes, rest areas. I’m just back from a driving holiday that took us to the Waterton and Jasper national parks, taking advantage of the free pass given out to mark Canada’s 150th birthday. I love our national and provincial parks and could think of no better way to celebrate our 150th national birthday than taking in the glory of our national park system. The free pass is much appreciated but wasn’t entirely necessary because I happily pay to use our park systems (as long as the money is being used for the parks and not general revenue).

But driving across B.C. and stopping to take a whizz or eat lunch at our provincial rest areas was outright embarrassing. They were decrepit, messy, and disgusting. The bathrooms in many of them were little more than outhouses and poorly maintained or even cleaned.

Now, I’m not finicky about doing my business in the outdoors but these weren’t isolated forest recreation sites where an outhouse is appreciated and a bare bones facility is all that is needed to keep the natural areas clean.

No, these were our provincial highways, traversed by thousands of tourists, many of them from out of province and out of the country. I cringe to think what some of them thought of our publicly-maintained highway rest areas.

If you go to the States and drive their highways, rest areas are beautiful. They’re clean, they offer flush toilets, some have coffee and many of them have on-site hosts. Now, I know that most of the time when I’m travelling in the U.S. I’m on federally-maintained Interstate highways, so I’m not necessarily asking for a million-dollar rest area.

But is it too much to have flush toilets on the main routes? Heck, I’d settle for clean toilets that weren’t dirty and cracked and discoloured. How about emptying some of them a little more often? Phew, the smell!

Again, I can make like the bear and do my business in the woods with the best of them but this isn’t the woods and men have it easy when it comes to doing their business after drinking coffee for a couple hundred kilometres. But the women in my life are forced to deal with terrible facilities.

These rest stops are a showcase for our province. We spend millions attracting tourists to our great land and I know they are awed by this spectacular place we call home. But some of those rest stops might send them back to their homes holding their noses.

Alistair Taylor is editor of the Campbell River Mirror.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

VIDEO: Learning begins with new indigenous name for Chilliwack school

Stito:s La:lam Toti:lt will open in September 2022 for students from K-8

VIDEO: Yarrow’s Corwin Drew in final four of Vancouver Whitecaps Academy skills competition

The soccer star is looking for community support to get him through the next round of online voting

Chilliwack students make slow return to classes

Less than 40 per cent of allowable density across the district on opening day

Chilliwack youth planning solidarity march against racism

Organizer hoping to ‘create a type of a energy in the city that we will not be silent about racism’

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Most Read