I love you tourists. We all love you and we all love your love.
This marriage between us has been exciting, wonderful and fulfilling and our communities have been kept warm by your embrace.
Your awe of our Coast inspires us to recapture our love for our home and the smiles you wear touring our surroundings reminds us of the paradise we live in.
You are more than just our sunshine.
We need your love to keep our economy thriving and we’re honoured you’ve chosen to reciprocate our love for you with such beautiful enthusiasm.
We’ve grown as comfortably accustomed to your smiles as you have to our hospitality, but the comfort of our marriage may have slipped us into taking each other for granted.
There’s always trouble in paradise but The Beatles or, if you prefer, Tom Jones, have assured us that ‘We can work it out.’
To paraphrase that tune’s relevant riff: your stay here is very short and there’s no time for fussing and fighting my friends.
Marriage is work, according to Ben Affleck, so let’s believe Batman and admit we both have work to do.
We know that solid communication stokes the flames of any marriage, so we’re scattering signage across our Coast to help you stay safe, have fun and find what you’re looking for. We need you to work on paying attention to these signs.
You didn’t travel to Tofino to cross the road. You came for the combination of beaches, food, shopping, and wild serenity you know can’t be found anywhere else. But, Tofino worked hard to create sidewalks worthy of its vibe by painting whales and surfboards between the lines. If you could please work on using them, instead of darting in front of us unexpectedly, we’d all feel so much safer.
You didn’t travel to Ucluelet to drive through town; you came to take on the Wild Pacific Trail, check out our working harbour and get your hands on fascinating aquatic species at the only catch-and-release aquarium of its kind. We know our community school zone is a curveball, that’s why we’ve worked so hard to cover it with signage to help you understand our 30 km/h zone is in effect from dawn until dusk everyday all year. If you could please work on obeying that signage, we’d all feel so much less nervous when our kids are at play.
We hesitate to bring up the highway with you because it’s a source of frustration and we want to be the kind of partner you deserve; one who builds you up, not one who puts you down. But tourists, it’s hard. It’s hard to justify our love for you when we’re trapped behind you on the highway. We beg you to find it in your hearts to push your speedometers at least close to 80 km/h while cruising along the highway between our towns.
We love that you love our rainforest and that its beauty brings you pause, but you cannot enjoy that pause while driving. Please, pull over to bask in it. The way your eyes light up when you spot our breathtaking wildlife is one of the reasons we heart you so much, but those beautifully breathless moments need to be enjoyed from the side of the road. Our National Park staff have grown accustomed to breaking up ‘bear jams;’ we need you to work on cutting those out.
Most importantly though tourists, the nature around us is not a third wheel. It is vital to our relationship and we need you to work on respecting it. Please do not cover our beaches with litter. We’ve worked hard to put garbage bins in as many places we can: we need you to work on using them.
We know, understand and appreciate you can’t all book into our world-class resorts, but you also can’t pitch your tents in our backyards without asking. It’s not that we don’t trust you, but we’re feeling burned by the garbage and mess a few of you are leaving behind. This Coast has worked hard to create accommodation options as eclectic as all of you are. There are campgrounds and low-cost inns that would be thrilled to welcome you; we need you to work on taking advantage of their services.
We’ve been happily married for over 20 years now tourists and, while marriage is work, we can work it out.
Andrew Bailey is the editor of the Westerly News. You can find his weekly column ‘Behest of the West’ on page 4 of our print edition every Wednesday.