Fires set inside four different washrooms within the Pacific Rim National Park have temporarily robbed visitors of relief.
The washrooms—located at Schooner Cove, Incinerator Rock and both north and south Long Beach—remain shut down due to damage caused by intentionally-lit flames that melted toilet seats and destroyed paper towel and soap dispensers, according to Park Warden Jon Hopkins.
The damage was discovered by the Park’s janitorial staff on Oct. 17.
“Nothing burned down, but there was enough smoke damage that we definitely need a professional assessment done before we allow visitors back in there,” Hopkins told the Westerly News.
“They will be closed for the near future…We’re still waiting on some final estimates to come in so there won’t be a timeframe until we figure out the damage.”
He added several pay-machines were busted around the same time and the incidents are all believed to have been done by the same vandal, or vandals.
“Parks Canada is working with the RCMP. To date however, there has been no suspects identified unfortunately,” he said adding anyone with any information is encouraged to contact the Ucluelet RCMP at 250-726-7773.
He said it’s the most damaging flurry of vandalism he has seen in his three years with the Park and has senselessly diminished the experiences of visitors who didn’t travel to the Park to spend their time searching for washrooms.
“Obviously these [washrooms] are here for people to use so they can spend a greater amount of time enjoying the area and, by removing these facilities, it impacts their visitor experience for sure,” he said.
“The Park is here for people to appreciate all the breathtaking views and it’s a treasured place in a lot of people’s minds. It’s unfortunate that vandals have tarnished some of the experiences by vandalizing the washrooms.”
Port-a-potties have been set up outside the closed facilities and the Park is assessing how to better protect its infrastructure.
“We’ll be going over the incident with our departmental security staff and we’ll seek their advice when it comes to how better we can protect our facilities,” Hopkins said.