Anti-spitting advocate wants Richmond pool to enforce no spitting rule

A Richmond man is fed up with spitters ignoring the "no spitting" rule at his local pool, but his protests are getting him in trouble with other patrons.

Greg Clackson says no spitting signs posted at his local pool are having no effect curbing spitting

No spitting signs similar to this one are posted a Minoru Aquatic Centre in Richmond. (Dave Horemans/CBC)

A Richmond man is fed up with spitters ignoring the "no spitting" rule at his local public pool.

Greg Clackson, a regular at the Minoru Aquatic Centre, told CBC other patrons continue to spit despite posted signs imploring them not to.

In fact, Clackson says the problem is getting worse not better, and his attempts to point out the "no spitting" rule to spitting patrons are now leading to conflict.

'It's been confrontational'

"It's actually gotten to the point that it's been confrontational the last couple episodes," Clackson told CBC. "They've turned it around and were making like I was the problem."

Clackson says he's especially grossed out at all the spit littering the change room floor where people often walk around barefoot.

"The last guy came back to me with the reason he was coughing it up because he had a bad cold," he said. "And I said well, isn't that nice — that's all the more reason we don't want it." 

The chairman of Richmond's aquatic services board.says spitting is difficult for pool staff to police, especially in the change rooms.

"We try and monitor it through what the lifeguards see, or what patrons on their own mention," said Ian MacLeod. "At the end of the day, it's obviously disturbing to people to see it, and I understand that. But I don't think in terms of hygiene and general practice that it is a substantial issue. 

Just point to the sign

McLeod says if patrons catch someone in the act they can just point to the sign,

"Or ask them to please not do do that," he said.

Last year, Terrace cancelled its noon adult drop-in hockey program when players refused to stop spitting on the benches. Officials cited all the saliva as a health hazard, especially to children.

Spitting was also singled out as a potential contributing factor in a mumps outbreak that plagued the NHL last season. Mumps is spread through droplets of saliva and mucus from the mouth, nose or throat.

The Richmond aquatic services board intends to discuss the spitting issue at its next meeting.

With files from Chantelle Bellrichard

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