EDITORIAL – From weedy trails to skuzzy washrooms, details count

(Images: Nancy Bepple, left; Johan Noakes, right)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

SOMETIMES IT’S THE DETAILS that make life either so much better or a little bit worse.

One of the greatest annoyances expressed by taxpayers, for example, is potholes. They’re everywhere.

There are always assurances that they’ll be filled — sooner or later — but it always seems to be later. Whenever a major new project of some kind is announced, a chorus goes up of “Fill the potholes first!”

Then there’s John Noakes, an Armchair Mayor reader, who drew attention last week to the weeds along the Rivers Trail near Westmount. These weren’t just untidy invaders growing along the edges. No, these were giants, stretching their nasty branches out towards the centre of the pathway.

Rivers Trail at Westmount is passable again after City heeded resident’s concern about overgrown weeds and bushes. (Image: Mel Rothenburger)

“Not only is there not enough room for a person, let alone a person with a dog, to walk along the one side of the pathway,” but it’s hard to see if a cyclist is coming towards you, he said.

As he pointed out, the trail has become more popular than ever during the pandemic. Since Noakes raised his concerns, City maintenance crews have tidied up the overgrowth, showing that raising your voice sometimes works.

Meanwhile, columnist and former City councillor Nancy Bepple asks if clean washrooms at B.C.’s rest stops are too much to expect. Anyone who’s had to answer the call of nature on a road trip knows exactly what she’s talking about.

Her word for them is “disgusting.” Mine is “scuzzy.” Both are accurate.

Like the local trail systems, the washrooms have been more in demand than ever due to the pandemic, except that quite a few were closed for awhile.

The good news is the province has a plan to upgrade those foul pits to flush toilets. The bad news is the plan is four years old and remains a work in progress.

Indeed, the big stuff gets the headlines but the small things in life are important, too.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at\

About Mel Rothenburger (9652 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – From weedy trails to skuzzy washrooms, details count

  1. But where is the “punch line” or perhaps “the moral of the story”? Who is being held accountable on how taxpayers money is spent?
    Take the major weeds issue along the pathways, which is a City responsibility. Are they spending too much of the allocation on annual flowers (very pretty for sure, but…) hence forced to overlook everything else? And, because amongst the tall weeds there is a large proportion of noxious ones, isn’t the City running afoul of the invasive species provincial law?

    • John Noakes // July 21, 2020 at 9:01 AM // Reply

      Well Pierre, even after the Covid trim, the pathway bears little resemblance to the manicured masterpiece at 7 Victoria Street West or even along the new West Victoria Street corridor.
      There are no invasive plant species anywhere TV interviews take place.

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