The Butchart Gardens bus stop that sparked some controversy is back, this time outside of the attraction for public to use.
Earlier in December 2019, a bus stop for BC Transit routes 75 and 81 was erected near The Butchart Gardens.
In August 2019, an individual – Matt Wallis – who had been mooring at the nearby Tod Inlet for years and regularly used the on-property bus stop at the Gardens said he was not allowed to do so unless he was a “paying customer.”
The bus stop, located just inside The Butchart Gardens parking lot, was the nearest one to Gowlland Tod Provincial Park.
Boaters rely on the BC Transit service to get supplies from local stores and amenities and were upset to find they couldn’t access the stop inside the gardens unless they paid the entry fee this summer. They walked for about one kilometre uphill and exposed to traffic, to get to the next bus stop.
The Butchart Gardens chief executive Dave Cowen later told Black Press Media that members of the public have never been charged to access the on-property bus stop. He said visitors at the admission gates who ask to use The Butchart Gardens bus stop are referred to the full service stop up the road because it has more frequent service. However, if an individual who was elderly or had a disability needed to use the on-property stop, staff would help them do so or even get them to the other stop if scheduling was better, Cowen said.
Wallis said he hoped a new stop would be added outside of the Gardens and on Dec. 11, his wish was fulfilled according to BC Transit.
Jonathan Dyck, communications manager for BC Transit said the stop just outside The Butchart Gardens is now operational with routes 75 and 81 making regular stops there.
“We’re happy we were able to work in partnership [with The Butchart Gardens] and find a solution and that we’re now servicing customers at that stop closer to Tod Inlet,” Dyck said.
The bus stop is now located on Benvenuto Avenue, across from The Butchart Gardens.
Cowen said it was news to The Butchart Gardens that there was concern about the bus stop from Gowlland Tod Provincial Park users. He said Central Saanich, BC Transit and The Butchart Gardens “came right to the table” and showed how easy it is to respond to concerns like Wallis’.
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.