A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)

Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

The West Coast’s ‘Locks of Love’ fence has again become a frustrating eyesore as visitors continue to bizarrely cover it with garbage in what’s become a frustrating and harmful ritual.

Visitors have long been stopping at the chain link fence along Hwy. 4 at Wally Creek on their way in or out of the Tofino-Ucluelet region. Many have placed a padlock on the fence as a romantic gesture to commemorate their West Coast experiences.

But a horrifying trend of stringing up trash has also popped up in recent years, exacerbated by the pandemic as disposable face masks have become common ‘mementos’ left behind.

A team from WestCoast WILD Adventures recently did its best to clean the fence as coworkers Anne-Marie Gosselin, Kelly Bedford and Teyah Little tackled the site on May 2.

Gosselin told the Westerly News they had seen a Facebook post showing the fence strewn with trash and were “disgusted” by it, agreeing to leave for work early the next day to remove as much as they could. They arrived at the fence a little before 9 a.m. armed with garbage bags, gloves, scissors and other debris-tackling tools.

“It hit a few nerves. It really got us passionate about what was going on up there. Somebody had to do something and we had time” Gosselin said. “We all stood there for probably about two minutes not even knowing where to start. It was disgusting. We cut off as much as we could.”

“The creativity of what people use to put on that fence is amazing. What people find in their cars or have in their back pockets that they think is OK to leave, credit to them, they’re being creative, but I had no idea how much junk was on that fence,” she said.

She said the area is an important wildlife habitat and the microplastics on the fence could be catastrophic.

“We live and play in that water,” she said. “It’s really important for us that we keep it clean and pristine as much as possible.”

She said the WestCoast WILD Adventures team left signs asking people not to leave litter and plans to keep their eye on the spot.

“We’ll do our best, but I think it’s going to take the entire community,” she said.

Goslin posted photos of the fence and the team’s work to clean it on the company’s Facebook page on May 2 and said she and her crew were surprised and inspired by the response they received.

“When I posted that, I had no idea it would go that far and reach that many people,” she said. “It was great to hear the majority of the community celebrating what we had done. It made us feel good because you never know what reaction you’ll get for taking off peoples’ potential memories.”

Local interest in removing the fence from the area gained momentum last September when Ucluelet locals Dan and Jessica Rutherford spent a day clearing debris off of it and raised their concern about how grotesque it had become.

The area sits outside the jurisdictions of both Tofino and Ucluelet and is the responsibility of B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

A ministry spokesperson told the Westerly News last week that the ministry is aware of the COVID-19 masks and other garbage being hung on the fence and continues to investigate potential signage for the site.

“There is no regular litter pick-up at this location, like there would be at a rest area. The ministry is looking at installing ‘no litter’ signage to remind people not to leave garbage on the fence itself, and in the area. While there is no regular litter removal, the ministry does remove debris once it is over a certain size and in accordance with our provincial maintenance specifications,” the spokesperson wrote via email.

“Enforcement of regulatory signage, or any applicable laws, is the responsibility of the local police agency or RCMP.”

They added that the fence will not be removed.

“Wally Creek, at the Kennedy Love Locks location, can have dangerously heavy water flows, especially when the river is high. The chain link fence was installed as a safety measure to both limit people from accessing the water and to provide a small platform for people to view the river without danger of falling in,” the spokesperson wrote. “The ministry reminds people that littering is prohibited in British Columbia and encourages people to refrain from leaving face masks on the fence.”



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: ‘Locks of Love’ fence near Tofino-Ucluelet consumed with litter

READ MORE: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation says more resources needed to keep Tribal Parks open

READ MORE: Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District looks at enforcement of illegal camping

EnvironmentGarbageTofino,Tourismucluelet

Just Posted

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

File photo
Princeton mayor ready to support referendum if proposal for $7 million loan gets defeated

A proposal to borrow $7 million to fix town infrastructure may well… Continue reading

Directors and alternate directors at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen received nearly $560,000 in remuneration and expenses in 2020, according to the Statement of Financial Information. (Black Press file photo)
Almost $560,000 in remuneration for Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board

Costs of directors and alternate directors outlined in Statement of Financial Information

(File photo)
$8M in wages for Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen staff

34 employees paid more than $75,000 in 2020

Glen Lennon now resides in a neat and fully serviced unit in the Silver Crest Retirement Home, managed by Princeton and District Community Social Services. Photo Andrea DeMeer
Princeton RCMP and social workers find new home for elderly accident victim

“I love the sun and the sun shines on my patio here. I can go out and walk around.”

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

(Facebook)
New trial date set for Penticton beach attacker’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

Most Read