Tofino’s Nov. 28 municipal council meeting kicked off with a celebration as longtime local Jan Janzen was honoured with a Volunteer Service Award.
“Today it is my pleasure to speak on behalf of Tofino council to recognize the quiet but consistent and dedicated efforts of one of our town’s longtime citizens,” said mayor Josie Osborne.
“For almost 20 years, Jan Janzen has been volunteering with the Pacific Rim Hospice Society to accompany individuals on their journey through the end of their lives, and to provide loving support to the families and friends they leave behind.”
She added that Jan’s commitment includes putting in long hours of workshops and training to improve his skills as a hospice volunteer in order to best serve local people and families.
“In the words of his nominator, ‘It is people like Jan who make this community a beautiful and exciting place to live in,’” she said. “Jan, your work for the Pacific Rim Hospice Society shows us how deeply you care about your fellow humans. You are an inspiration to all of us, and we are lucky to have you here in Tofino. Thank you and congratulations.”
Waste disappoints tourist
Council will talk to a local restaurant after receiving a complaint from a tourist who suggested too much packaging was used on their food.
Simon Gardiner was visiting the area from Australia and wrote that he had initially been pleased to see posters around town promoting zero waste initiatives, but was quickly disappointed when the first restaurant he went to did not seem to follow the ethos.
“To our disgust our food came wrapped ready for take away, we said that we are dinning in and they informed us that all their food is prepared for take away, even if customers are dining in,” he wrote.
“This café is producing maximum waste for every customer that comes in their business which in turn then fills the litter bins etc through Tofino creating more waste than should be considered reasonable.”
He suggested council should “police” its local businesses to ensure all are making efforts to live up to the town’s zero waste ideology. Council agreed to talk to the restaurant’s owner and encourage all businesses to use as little waste as possible.
“There is a movement afoot within in our community on many different levels and it requires all of us taking part,” said Coun. Cathy Thicke.
Delivery trucks under fire
Council directed staff to reach out to local businesses and submit a report on possible solutions to delivery truck congestion in town after reviewing a complaint from a local who submitted photos of trucks blocking traffic at the corner of Fourth Street and Campbell Street.
“I think we need to recognize a little bit that the downtown area was laid out long before the advent of semi trucks so we’re not really built for it and I think the businesses and their suppliers typically do try to do the best they can with what we have,” said District CAO Bob McPherson.
Coun. Greg Blanchette said Tofino’s bylaw enforcement officers should be directed to focus on the issue.
“I imagine it’s much more convenient for a truck to just park on the street and dump its stuff off, but our residents are starting to notice. So, get those trucks off the street where we can,” he said.
Coun. Cathy Thicke asked if there was any way the district could restrict delivery times and the number of trucks coming in.
“Right now, it just feels like it’s a free-for-all,” she said.
McPherson responded that municipalities do have the ability to restrict delivery times, but he questioned if that would be the right move.
“I think it’s something we’d want to think through a little bit. Because, if we were to focus all delivery times in, let’s say, a two-hour period, to me, it seems like that would increase the incidents of there being two trucks in one location,” he said.
Mayor Josie Osborne suggested council talk to local businesses about potential solutions.
“I don’t think they’re insensitive to the problem, but by saying that this is an issue and we want to deal with it and we’re going to have to work together with them to come to some solutions,” she said. “If some of that is that we end up establishing a rule about loading times, then so be it, but let’s work together with them first before we go there.”
McMaster said delivery companies should be reached out to as well and added the issue is a longstanding one.
“We have been discussing this ad nauseam ever since I’ve been on council. The problem’s continued to get worse. We’ve done nothing,” he said. “We’ve got to start thinking a little bit in advance of these issues that are coming down the pipe and try to come up with a proactive plan, rather than just wait for the complaints every summer.”