THUNDER BAY, ON ----- November 21, 2009 ----- Yes it is that time of year again, when we start to see the return of those yellow bottles that find their way into the ditches along our highways around Thunder Bay, Ontario. It sounds like a Horror Film, and it is also like a reverse migration season. When the winter weather approaches the yellow bottles come back and although we occasionally see these containers during the winter months, it is the spring when we get our full glimpse of these bottles typically containing a certain body fluid. Yuck!
Yes this is kind of gross, but it is a reality of travel in the north. It is not something people like to discuss, however it is there and it is not only un-sightly, and it is a health risk to those people who volunteer their time to picking these up. I commend these folks who are typically are a member of a volunteer group that have a dedicated trash removal party that forms a few times per year. These groups reserve a portion of the highway and look after making sure their section is cleaned-up.
The question is why? Why do we have to observe and pick-up after thoughtless drivers? This is something that I do not remember observing years ago, but it is definitely there now.
One only has to look at the very few places a driver has to relieve themselves along the vast stretches of our highways. There are none! After Thanksgiving we lose access to our restroom facilities. Is this what he are to be thankful for, but then after we give thanks we can’t use them until Victoria Day?
Why can’t we have restroom facilities available all year? Is it that difficult to manage, is it that costly? I know it’s not tourist time during the winter months, and it never will be with this type of facility availability. I can remember being questioned by some visitors from southern Ontario and the US recently as to “why there are so many bottles of apple juice found in the ditches?” When they were educated about our reality they were not impressed.
Okay so we can’t cover the cost to have a restroom from Nipigon to Jellicoe, or between Longlac and Hearst, can we not at least have some receptacles to place those apple juice containers in?
One only has to drive along the north-shore by the Sault to see how they have remedied this situation with numerous waste disposal spots, which are easy to access for a considerable distance. It works there, it is covered by the MOT budget, so why not here? There are no restroom facilities there either and it is quite a hike between the Sault and Wawa but at least they can dispose of their refuse.
It is tough enough driving in the northwest in the winter with the snow, ice and moose, and these are out of our control, but restroom facilities are in our control. Why do we just accept this situation? We are fined if we litter, yet we have no restrooms, and in the winter well, it that can get a little chilly and dangerous as there are no places to pull off, even if you are brave enough to face the elements.
You know, in frustration I have been tempted to put a sign on the gates barring access to the few restroom facilities that do exist, and the sign would read, “Closed for the Season, Just fill up a bottle and throw it into the ditch like everyone else”.
My Blog: http//:biglakecountry.blogpsot.com/