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Tofino payphone’s number could be up as usage dwindles

Town to have a say before payphone removed
The payphone outside Tofino’s district office is coming to the end of the line and is slated for removal next year pending a public consultation process. (Photo- Andrew Bailey)

Hold the phone, the sun might not be setting on a relic from a bygone era in Tofino just yet.

Tofino’s council received a letter in August advising that the payphone located outside the town’s municipal office was heading for greener pastures after being targeted for removal by TELUS Communications.

“The Public Telephone located at your Business will be disconnected and removed within the next 12 months. This is due to the high cost to maintain the service and the decline in usage,” reads the letter that council reviewed during Aug. 10’s regular meeting.

Council received the letter without discussion, but a TELUS spokesperson told the Westerly News that the payphone’s number might not actually be up.

The spokesperson said the use of payphones has “steadily declined” due to the growing popularity and accessibility of cell phones and wireless coverage, but added that the letter to Tofino was sent by WiMacTel Canada Inc. on behalf of TELUS in error and more consultation is needed before a decision on the phone’s fate is made.

“We are thoughtful about removing payphones and often work with local businesses, municipal governments, and the community to ensure there are alternate options within a reasonable distance before a payphone is removed,” they said. “Notice about potentially removing the payphone outside of Tofino’s municipal hall was premature: we do not plan to remove this payphone until next year, and only after consulting with local government and community members.”

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Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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