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)

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

 

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

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

Just Posted

O.K. Industries is building a quarry next to Capital Regional District land, as shown in this map from the rezoning applicaiton. (Photo courtesy District of Highlands)
Millstream Quarry wins again in court against Highlands community’s appeal

Judges rule province not obligated to investigate climate change before issuing permit

Cheyenne, six, Savannah, three, and Jeremiah Sinclair, 8, were out on walk with their mother on June 4 when they discovered the first of several hundred fish that died after bleach leaked into Reay Creek. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Spill in Sidney’s Reay Creek turns into ecological lesson for local children

Federal-provincial investigation ongoing into what appears to be a bleach spill

Kidspace, which took over the YMCA-YWCA childcare centre at Eagle Creek Village, plans to reopen the Y’s fitness centre as the Eagle Creek Athletic Club in September. (Photo courtesy of Kidpsace)
Former Y fitness centre in View Royal aims to reopen in September

Kidspace taking over both the gym and the childcare facility at Eagle Creek Village

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Most Read