The ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek is no more as the ministry of transportation and infrastructure removed the unpopular litter magnet on May 21. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)

The ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek is no more as the ministry of transportation and infrastructure removed the unpopular litter magnet on May 21. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)

Pacific Rim litter problem unlocked by removing Locks of Love fence

Wally Creek barricade removed due to ongoing pile-up of trash along Highway 4 to Tofino-Ucluelet

One of the West Coast’s most frustrating litter magnets is no more.

The ‘Locks of Love’ fence was removed from its perch alongside the Pacific Rim highway on May 21.

“I drove home from Victoria on Friday night (May 21) and as I drove past Wally Creek I saw that the fence was gone and I let out a, ‘Hurrah!’ I was really happy,” Mid Island – Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne told the Westerly News.

Osborne’s enthusiasm was shared by many on the Coast who have watched the fence become an environmental nightmare in recent years.

The chain link fence was originally installed to prevent people from falling from the popular viewpoint along Hwy. 4 between Port Alberni and the Tofino-Ucluelet junction. It earned its nickname as tourists began locking padlocks onto it in what became a misguided effort to leave a memento of their West Coast experience.

In recent years, that morphed into a bizarre trend of leaving garbage on the fence, including COVID-19 masks, and the resulting mess became a frustrating point of contention and environmental hazard.

“Unfortunately, over the past few years, there have been many incidents where garbage and debris has been left on the fence and at the Wally Creek site. Recently, and in consultation with First Nations and local stakeholders concerned with this area, the ministry reviewed the option to remove the fence and staircase to help mitigate the littering issue,” a ministry of transportation and infrastructure spokesperson told the Westerly News via email.

The spokesperson said the fence was removed by a maintenance contractor and a new roadside barrier will be installed “in the coming weeks.”

“In the interim, the public is reminded to adhere to the temporary signage and limit their access to this area, in order to ensure their ongoing safety,” they said.

Osborne, a longtime West Coast resident and former mayor of Tofino had reached out to the ministry as well as the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Central Westcoast Forest Society early this year.

“It’s always been my experience that we find solutions when we work together. Collaborating means listening to each other, trying to understand somebody’s perspective and then working to find a solution,” she said. “It’s not always easy and sometimes it takes longer than people wish it would and so it takes a patient and respectful approach, but time and time again I think we find solutions when we do sit down and work together and this is a great example of that.”

Central Westcoast Forest Society executive director Jessica Hutchinson told the Westerly that Wally Creek is a tributary flowing into Kennedy River and the garbage covered fence bordered the spot where the two collide.

“We’re just so happy with this outcome…It was a point source for pollution in Kennedy River because unfortunately people were stringing up more than just locks and garbage and that keys were being encouraged to be thrown into the river itself,” she said. “It’s pretty disappointing to see that it could be treated this way.”

She said the Kennedy River’s salmon stocks have plummeted, with only two Chinook counted in 2020 and added that, with the fence now gone, the CWFS is hoping to continue working with the ministry to install signage explaining the area’s ecological sensitivity.

“It’s kind of sad that we even need signage to remind us that these are sensitive ecosystems. Perhaps in the romantic notion of a lock and a key, we’re losing sight of a more romantic notion that these ecosystems we are a part of and we need to treat with respect and take care of them,” she said.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

RELATED: Litter woes continue at ‘Locks of Love’ fence near Tofino-Ucluelet

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

Just Posted

(File photo)
Crime report: Crooks busy pilfering bikes throughout Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Thefts among 295 complaints Oceanside RCMP deal with in one-week period

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue logo on the back of a service vehicle. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville and Qualicum Beach provide letters of support for Arrowsmith Search and Rescue

ASAR asks for increase in funding, one-time capital grant and for RDN to buy out current facility

The proposed running track upgrade at Ballenas Secondary is now on course. (PQB News file photo)
RDN: Parksville track upgrade project gains some traction

Staff recommends board approve $204,000 funding

The total earnings of Town of Qualicum Beach council and mayor amounted to $186,649 in 2020, including expenses. (Town of Qualicum Beach photo)
Nine Qualicum Beach town employees earned more than $100K in 2020

Mayor and council received earnings totalling $186,649

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read