EDITORIAL: The dilemma of living in beautiful B.C.

Tourism dollars are needed for the economy while some locals are crying ‘stay away’

Living in the most beautiful corner of Canada here in B.C. we have a dilemma on our hands.

Our tourism industry works hard to get people from elsewhere in Canada and all over the world to come visit, experience our mountains and rivers and coasts, and go biking and skiing and seeing the sights.

Our environmentalism and a duty to Indigenous rights tells us – or should – that guests to the province might want to take it slow.

And some of us who live here, imbued with a sense of concern, maybe some entitlement, are starting to say: “You know what? Stay away. This is ours.”

Recent bad behaviour among a few of the huge numbers of visitors to Cultus Lake made for nasty situations. A predictable increase in summer traffic reached ridiculous heights. Columbia Valley Highway was clogged with illegally parked cars as these “others” came to “our” backyard in droves.

One young man drowned at Entrance Bay.

We’ve heard two reports of aggressive behaviour by rude and violent people in motor boats, directed towards Indigenous paddlers. There was also one assault that RCMP said might have been racially motivated.

• READ MORE: Police looking for footage of alleged assault at Cultus Lake

“What is wrong with people?” many are asking. The vast majority of people who tour around B.C. are respectful and understanding and don’t leave a mess. But there is a disturbing group of self-entitled people who don’t treat our backyard like their backyard. They treat it like a garbage dump and a playground for their antics.

So what do we do? Close the “door?” Some residents of the Columbia Valley and Cultus Lake are calling for a “locals only” policy.

This is ridiculous. Who are the “locals?” Cultus Lake Park leaseholders only? Some might like that. Chilliwack residents only, for whom the park was originally created in 1932? How would we police that?

B.C. residents? Canadians? Unlike our actual private property backyards, we can’t pick and choose who gets to enjoy our shared community backyards.

Education and enforcement of bad behaviour is all we’ve got. Hopefully it’s enough, because something has to change.

– Black Press Media


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