Locked gates adjacent to Gowland Tod Provincial Park. In the past, boaters and the public had been able to catch the bus from Butchart Gardens but the company has now barred access to non-paying customers. No reason has been given and the company declined to answer any questions. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Man says Butchart Gardens asked him to pay full entry price to use bus stop

Butchart Gardens says public can use bus stop, but it has limited service

A visitor to Gowlland Tod Provincial Park who was wishing to catch the bus into town from nearby Butchart Gardens said he was told to pay full entry price to do so, but the Gardens have said that has never been part of its policy.

Matt Wallis, from Anacortes, Wash., has been mooring at Tod Inlet for years and regularly used the bus stop. He explains his recent experience.

“So we walked over to the entrance of the gardens and asked if we could have access to the BC Transit bus terminal and they said ‘Oh no, that’s only for paying customers.’ So they’re limiting access to the public bus to their paying customers, which is a little nutty I thought, I mean, it’s a public bus.”

ALSO READ: Travel disruption ahead for B.C. Day long weekend

Boaters are reluctant to pay the entry fee as it dwarfs the price of the actual bus fare. They now have to embark on a one-kilometre walk, uphill and exposed to traffic, to get to the next stop. These boaters rely on the BC Transit service to get supplies from local stores and amenities. It is estimated that crews of up to 40 vessels are currently being affected by the policy.

“That park is used by tons of people not just boaters and you’d think that BC Transit would like to provide service to it. I would hope either they add a stop right outside the gardens, probably 100 feet from the current stop, or the Gardens need to let other folks use that bus terminal,” says Wallis.

At the time, Black Press Media reached out to The Butchart Gardens for comment but was unable to receive a reply by press time. Since then, the Gardens have said members of the public have never been charged to access the on-property bus stop, which has been on the property since the 1980s. The stop was built in collaboration with BC Transit for visitors and the Gardens’ 650 staff members to use.

ALSO READ: Sidney considers bylaw change to allow weed shops

“If a visitor of [Gowlland Tod] shows up at the admission gates and asked about using the bus stop, we would refer them to the full service bus stop at Wallace and Benvenuto. It has more frequent service and the Gardens have selective service,” said The Butchart Gardens chief executive Dave Cowen. “If they were to get on the bus from Butchart, by the time they come back from town we might be closed and that leads to a lot of concern and worry.”

Cowen noted that if someone who was elderly or had a mobility difficulty presented themselves at the gate and wanted to catch the bus staff would help them get to the on-property stop or even to the stop up the road if the scheduling was better.

In the past, Butchart Gardens has expressed interest in improved transit provision and this summer BC Transit increased its service to the business, enhancing routes #75 and #81, which deliver customers right inside Butchart’s compound.

ALSO READ: Free kids’ nature walks offer crabs, marine beasties and Canada’s largest marine snail

Wallis raises the point that Butchart Gardens often operates boating tours around Tod Inlet, with some customers likely to have used the public bus service to get to the attraction.

BC Transit provided a written response, “We consider all stops to be used by members of the public. If we have a stop on private property, we work with the property owner to understand the requirements for the stop.”

Coun. Zeb King of Central Saanich says residents who pay for the #75 bus contribute approximately $1 million towards public transit.

“Public transit is called public because it serves the needs of all residents and taxpayers and not simply the needs of a single private business. While I support increased trips to Butchart, this should mean more Bus 75 trips serving the rest of the route and not only going to and from a single privately owned and operated business,” he said, adding, “otherwise this becomes less public and more private transit.”

Editor’s note: This article was changed on Feb. 27, 2020 to reflect accurate information about the bus stop and to add comment from The Butchart Gardens.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC Transit

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The sign barring non-customers to the bus stop. (Submitted by Matt Wallis)

Just Posted

The Turkey Head Walkway. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay community sees untapped potential in Turkey Head

Part 3 of a closer look at Oak Bay Marina and Turkey Head

A small number of the masks available at Disguise the Limit. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
West Shore costume expert showcases pandemic-safe Halloween looks

Maureen Cue models the best masked Halloween costumes

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
WorkSafe BC investigating man’s death during Oak Bay tree removal

Man was working for contracted tree removal company when incident occurred

A notice on the door of the Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. says it closes permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks location to close permanently after 16 years

Residents association seeks reason for closure set for Oct. 25

Lookout Lake water levels are low as the dam undergoes upgrades. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Colwood dam upgrades projected to be under budget

Province designates Lookout Brook as a high consequence dam should it fail

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

Most Read