Editor's note: The Chief's weekly editorial represents the opinion of the newspaper.
It has come to this, Squamish. We have to talk human poop in an editorial.
This summer, the complaints about human feces seem to have ramped up.
It isn’t a new problem, but it does seem to be increasing as our town’s popularity — er — explodes.
Surprisingly, the issue of stepping in and around piles of human waste, seeps into stories about completely unrelated things.
Local John Buchanan, for example, mentioned that when he was out with his metal detector looking for plane wreckage in Paradise Valley, he had to be wary of getting his equipment stuck in the — mess.
Others mention the problem outside their backyards or around their children’s school.
It is not only disgusting, it is a health hazard; human feces carry bacterial and viral infections.
The problem is more complex than it may seem.
Currently, it seems there is no publicly accessible sani-dump for RV users.
Like other campgrounds, the sani-dump at Alice Lake is now restricted to campers of that park only.
Further, with the cost of living in Squamish, more people are living in their vehicles or camper vans.
District staff, Natural Resource officers, Conservation officers and Squamish Access Society members have worked to address the problem of campers not camping in designated — and bathroom equipped — places this summer.
Camping was actively discouraged at The Spit, around Powerhouse Springs Road and downtown.
According to the District, there was a weekly operations call among the partners on Thursdays to identify troublesome areas and weekly issues heading into the weekend.
Patrols were made and campers were talked to and moved along, if need be.
The District also developed the Squamish Camping Guide to provide a list of campsites and resources available to campers. It discusses proper disposal of human waste under #NoTrace Camping.
“We have been distributing these as ‘rack card handouts’ via bylaw officers patrolling the areas frequented by campers and natural resource officers,” said Bill Stoner, acting manager of District bylaw services in an email to The Chief. The rack cards are also available at the Squamish Adventure Centre and at various coffee shops around town.
Two signs are being installed on the Mamquam Forest Service Road and Spit Road.
These initiatives are great, but more needs to be done.
Some enterprising individual would do well to set up a sani-dump, for one.
We could also use more public washrooms. If we can’t afford proper, compostable toilets — and they aren’t cheap — perhaps we could bring in dozens of portable toilets during the tourist season. The District could contribute as well as those who benefit from the onslaught of tourists. Green For Life (formerly Carney’s) rents out toilets for less than what a coffee a day costs the average Squamite. How about it local businesses and developers? Help divert the poop so residents can have more doo-doo free days.