Tourists make up about 90% of our daily summer-time population.  While Tofino’s CAO keeps pushing residents to continue to drop our water consumption – what (if anything) are visitors being told?

Over the last two weeks at the Tofino Market, I did a very informal poll of tourists who came by my table, asking them what they have heard about our water situation. And the results are disturbing: while some accommodation-providers are passing along very accurate and detailed information, it seems that many of them are passing on either misleading info, or nothing at all.

Here is a listing of the accommodation-providers whose guests I spoke to.  I spoke to a total of 8 people, and all of their responses are listed here.  I have not gone to inspect any of the resorts myself – findings below are based entirely upon what tourists told me.

Those who are providing accurate and complete info:

Clayoquot Orca Lodge: had notices explaining what Stage 2 restrictions are in guest rooms
Camping at Mackenzie Beach: had notices about conservation at campers’ taps (I forgot ot ask the guy whether he was staying at Mackenzie Beach or Bella Pacifica)
Middle Beach Lodge: has clear notices explaining restrictions on main doors to resort
Crystal Cove campground: has clear and detailed notices explain measures e.g. avoiding flushing of toilets, taking short showers, not using water at certain times of the day
Tofino Vacation Rentals: the visitor said that she thinks they should have told them before she arrived about the water restrictions – however, upon arrival in the home she had booked, there was complete info in the form of a letter in the room outlining Stage 2 restrictions.

Those who provided incomplete or misleading info, or no info at all:

Duffin Cove: provided no info at all to guests (but these guests got the message when they went to Vincente’s Café and saw the notices there)
Wickaninnish Inn: this man said he was very confused – he’d received some info about conserving water by not drinking the tap water, and he said they were trying to sell him bottled water instead.  He said there was some info about not having laundry done daily, but that he had not heard anything about taking shorter showers, not flushing toilets, or times of day to avoid water use.
Schooner Motel: a general notice about year-round water conservation is in the rooms, but there was no info about current Stage 2 restrictions
Dolphin Motel: sorry, but this one is sadly funny.  The guests, from Vancouver, had heard about water restrictions before they came to Tofino, but received no information at all once they got here.  After their first night here, motel staff changed and laundered their bedsheets – so they left a note on the bed saying “Please don’t change our sheets.  Please conserve water.”

To me, this shows that we cannot count on all accommodation-providers to voluntarily inform their guests about water restrictions.  Tourists are by far the biggest part of our population during the months in which water is in short supply – the manner in which they are informed must be written into our bylaws.  Most tourists are more than willing to cooperate – in fact, an American tourist who was recently here, and who has been following this site, emailed this to me yesterday:  And yes, the locals should have their water rights come before tourists.  You are the ones that live there, pay taxes, grow your gardens. Why should visitors have all the water when you can’t even run the sprinklers for your children to play in.  Why should you be the ones to sacrifice??  Absurd.  No wonder we felt such a rudeness from the locals.

I noticed yesterday that the Co-op Grocery Store has put up notices at the tills outlining Stage 2 conservation measures.  This is a great step to take, thank you Co-op! People  are standing around waiting in line there, anyway – so they will actually read the notice.  And pretty much every resident and visitor passes through there every few days, too, so it is a great way of reaching lots of people.  Also big thanks to businesses like Vincente’s who are posting the info – you are very definitely helping to get the message out there.

Anyone else out there – do you have info of what businesses are doing a good or poor job of informing visitors?  Any ideas of how we can inform visitors better?

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