By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Oct. 19, 2012
There is potholed parking spots, few benches to sit and enjoy the view, and there are hardly any signs guiding visitors to downtown or any other tourist attractions.
But perhaps the real shame is that one of the most visited tourist spot in this town, the Eagle View dike, doesn’t even have a proper washroom.
What is even more shameful: It was supposed to be built five years ago.
Construction of a washroom along the Eagle Viewing area was one of the top goals listed by the district in its 2007 annual report. (See Page 11, under Operations).
Five years later, the district has no plans whatsoever to construct the washroom.
Constructing one, the district says, is not a ‘simple matter.’
So, this complex project won’t be completed this year, or any time soon.
“While the construction of a washroom may have been a district goal in 2008, other projects have taken priority since then,” said Christina Moore, the district spokesperson.
Try telling that to Brandy Howard or Mike Meloche.
Both work at the Watershed Grill, and often guide a steady stream of tourists to their washroom.
“It’s not the kind of thing we encourage, but what can you do when there is no public washroom,” says Brandy Howard.
There is an outhouse, but only the really desperate will venture there.
Last year, the district also took away parking from the street, which left just a narrow stretch of area across the dike for parking.
Unpaved and potholed, that area is now crowded with cars and buses during summer and winter.
“There is inadequate parking, and a lot of tourists and patrons simply drive away,” said restaurant worker Mike Meloche.
At the Squamish Adventure Centre, meanwhile, tourists keep asking for eagles.
“Even in the summer we have tourists asking for eagles,” said a visitor centre employee.
They often point them to the Eagle Viewing dike.
As a resident of Brackendale, and member of the Brackendale Owners and Tenants Association, Stephane Perron said he is concerned.
The shabby outhouse, and the non-existent washroom, is a sad metaphor for the overall neglect of one of the most visited tourist spots in Squamish, he said.
“There are few places for people to sit, there are no signs or guides pointing people to our downtown, there is just no plan for it,” Perron said.
Tourism Squamish, meanwhile, says it’s not their mandate to address infrastructure issues.
“Tourism Squamish is focused on marketing Squamish as a destination,” said Lesley Weeks.
“Our goal is to bring visitors to Squamish throughout the year to experience all that it has to offer.”
In the next marketing push, perhaps Tourism Squamish should mention a dirty outhouse, lack of benches, and a non-existent washroom as the top attractions along Eagle Viewing area.