#Vanlife may not be as easy this summer in Tofino as it was last. When COVID-19 disrupted normal summer travel plans in 2020, Tofino was inundated with visitors. Parking lots at Chesterman Beach, Cox Bay and other popular beach access points were overflowing with van dwellers and RV’ers camping for free. It seemed you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing a converted Sprinter van.
As a result, many Tofino residents are bracing for an even busier summer this season. But, besides the crowds, what does this mean for locals? Residents have already witnessed more garbage at trailheads and beaches than ever before, excessive driftwood beach fires and other disrespectful visitor behaviour.
“We weren’t prepared last summer. We didn’t see it coming,” said Tofino Mayor Dan Law, in an April 6 interview with Tuff City Radio host Ryan Orr.
“This summer will be different,” said Law, a local artist elected mayor in March. Former mayor Josie Osborne stepped down last fall following her successful bid to win a seat in the provincial legislature as MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim.
“There’s going to be increased by-law enforcement and two RCMP reservists, and increased fines,” Law said. “It’s going to be a lot harder to get away with illegal camping.”
He hopes the message is getting out there and that illegal camping won’t be as much of a problem this summer. However, Law went on to say that if people decide to visit Tofino without lining up accommodation beforehand, then expect more enforcement.