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)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Justine Keefer’s Cedar Elementary School Grade 6/7 class put together a student paper, as part of a school project. Pictured here Andrew Gregory, left, Felix Leduc, Addison Armstrong, Lucia Walker and Anise Dick. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Cedar Elementary School students create their own newspaper

Grade 6/7 class publishes Wolf Pack News as part of language arts and social studies

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

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

Most Read