Driving complaints rise as Ucluelet’s summer kicks in

With great scenery comes great distraction. 

Summer has packed the West Coast’s roads and highways with slow-moving RV’s, and wildlife lookie-loos, so it comes as no surprise that Ucluelet police have received an influx of driving complaints.

“We’re getting a lot of driving complaints from the traveling public…That is typical of busy summer traffic,” said Sgt. Jeff Swan of the Ucluelet RCMP.

 â€œThere’s a lot of tourists and a lot of locals mixing on the highways and a lot of cyclists and a lot of people walking on the highways so we’re getting a lot of traffic complaints.”

Slow highway drivers are urged to use pullouts to let the vehicles behind them pass and quick moving commuters are urged to pass slower traffic only when it’s safe to do so.

All drivers must pull over to view wildlife.

Swann said complaints are coming in from Highway 4, the Pacific Rim Highway and in town and he encourages locals and visitors to continue reporting unsafe drivers by calling the RCMP detachment at 250-726-7773.

 â€œWe really appreciate the public calling in,” he said. “The number one thing that we really need from people is a license plate (number).”

He added that some vehicles are speeding through Ucluelet’s playground zone despite the posted dawn-to-dusk 30 km speed limit.

The playground zone is located around Ucluelet’s two schools and is in effect 365 days-a-year but Swann suggested some drivers mistakenly think the posted speed limit can be ignored now that school is out for the summer.

“We still get tourists and locals alike going through there at significant speeds thinking school’s not in, but it’s a playground zone,” he said.

Dirt bike stolen

A dirt bike was recently stolen from outside a Ucluelet home.

The theft was reported on the afternoon of July 8 and is believed to have occurred on July 7, according to Sgt. Swann. 

Swann said police had no suspects at press time but an investigation is ongoing and he urges anyone with information about the theft to contact the detachment 250-726-7773.

Stay safe from social media shade; secure your garbage

Photos of unsecured garbage that had been trashed by wildlife recently spread across social media prompting Ucluelet police to remind locals about the district’s garbage bylaw.

Sgt. Swann said several bear sightings have been reported in the past week and he suggested bears are in town because garbage is being left out.

Ucluelet’s garbage collection bylaw— No. 960, 2004—lays out the steps locals must take to prevent their garbage from attracting wildlife. 

“All domestic garbage and food waste or other edible waste that could attract domestic animals or dangerous wildlife shall be stored indoors in an enclosed building, shed or storage facility and shall not be left in or on any area accessible to domestic animals or wildlife, including on any patio, balcony or deck,” the bylaw states.

The bylaw also stipulates that all garbage bins must be placed curbside “no earlier than 5:00 a.m….on the regularly scheduled day for collection.”

The fine for improperly storing garbage is $50 for the first offence and $100 for any subsequent offences.

Swann said full garbage bins that are left out overnight habituate bears into thinking Ucluelet’s streets are rich with viable food sources.

“You cannot put your garbage out early,” Swann said. “We need the public’s help in ensuring garbage cans are put out when they’re supposed to be put out.”

Joint vessel patrol educates boaters

Local police recently joined a joint-vessel patrol of the West Coast’s waters.

The patrol was comprised of Tofino and Ucluelet RCMP as well as personnel from the Pacific Rim National Park, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Environment, Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada and the Canadian Border Services Agency.

They focused on Ucluelet’s waters from Monday to Wednesday and Tofino’s from Thursday to Friday, according to Sgt. Swann.

 â€œIt was a great experience. There was lots of great stops, lots of great checks, and lots of great education,” Swann said adding many reminders were dished out to boaters.

 â€œWe found boats that had just come back from fishing 40 kilometres offshore and they didn’t have a life jacket onboard…We had commercial boats and whale watching boats that didn’t have fire extinguishers on hand (and) charter boats that didn’t have proper documentation.”

Swann urges local and visiting boaters to ensure they have gone through a checklist of what they need and have all their proper documentation and gear onboard before embarking on any voyage.

Andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca