Tuff cops prep for illegal camping season

With an onslaught of visitors and summertime locals making their way to Tofino’s already cramped housing situation, Tofino’s police have their eyes peeled for illegal campers.

“The general feeling is that illegal camping on the beaches, and car-camping in town, isn’t as bad as it has been in past years so far, but there’s definitely a shortage of housing in town so I’m sure that’s going to creep up on us as summer gets into full swing,” said Sgt. Blaine Mumford of the Tofino RCMP.

“The word around town is, obviously, that there’s a lack of housing, so those people who are coming to either just visit or to work are going to live somewhere.”

He said illegal camping is an issue in Tofino because it leads to increased litter and sanitary concerns.

“When people are car-camping, unfortunately a lot of them will just jump out of the car, go to the nearest tree, and that’s where they go to the washroom; so that’s not acceptable,” he said.

“Unfortunately, because the lowest common denominator is going to do things that way, you have to have a rule that says no car-camping.”

Tofino’s seasonal bylaw enforcement officers are the community’s first line of defence against illegal campers but Mumford said police keep tabs on popular illegal camping areas and respond to complaints from locals who spot illegal campers.   

“It’s part of the summertime enforcement priorities: beach patrols, open liquor on beaches and in town, and illegal camping,” Mumford said.

“As the RCMP, obviously we have a much broader mandate but we do enforce the bylaws and we assist the bylaw enforcement officers where need be.”

The fine for camping illegally in Tofino is $200, according to Tofino’s municipal ticket information system bylaw, but Mumford said illegal campers are usually moved on with a warning before being issued a ticket.

 

Accidental break-in at business

A confused woman accidentally broke into a local business last week.

Sgt. Blaine Mumford raced to the sound of the business’ alarm in the early morning hours of May 21 and arrived to find the business’ front door still open and a woman standing outside.

After speaking with the woman, who was dressed in hospital attire, Mumford deduced she had walked into the unlocked business after mistaking it for an ice-cream parlour.

“She had walked away from the hospital and she was experiencing some confusion,” Mumford said. 

“It was early in the morning, before the business opened, and she opened the front door and went inside and then figured out it wasn’t what she was looking for and left.”

He hopes the incident serves as a reminder for business owners, and locals in general, to make sure they lock up.

“Luckily the lady did not have any ill intent and didn’t steal anything but it could have been a lot worse than it actually was,” he said.

 â€œI know in Tofino, even still, among some people there’s a feeling that they don’t want to, or they don’t need to, lock their doors and lock their cars at night; some people still leave their keys in their car.

“Unfortunately, sadly, the days where that might have been OK are gone. There’s a lot of people coming and going from town and the best idea is just to lock your house (and) lock your car; better safe than sorry.”

 

Drunk driver caught

Police nabbed an impaired driver on May 15.

The driver was discovered to be intoxicated after being pulled over for contravening the motor vehicle act, according to Sgt. Mumford.

“Once the (officer) started to converse with them, they could tell the driver had been drinking,” Mumford said.

The driver failed a breathe test from an approved screening device and received an immediate 90-day roadside prohibition.

 

Andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca