A tour operator in St. John's has taken issue with what he calls a lack of available services with a popular tourist destination.
Dave Snow of Wildland Tours took the season's first cruise ship group out to Cape Spear this morning, and says he had to warn them that washroom services are still unavailable.
He said a lack of available facilities creates a problem for his guests.
"Today in May, they will not be able to use the washroom, and when you show the city over three or four hours, especially with people in their 50s, 60s and 70s, they like to have access to washroom facilities from time to time," Snow said.
"This kind of service, especially at the real start of the tourism season, is very disappointing."
Snow said he believes this is the result of cutbacks in funding to Parks Canada.
"I think an internal review by Parks Canada of the basic services that they give in certain parts of the province would be in order," Snow said. "With Cape Spear, it's close to St. John's, it's one of our most popular stops, people have been seeking it out ever since we've had roads in St. John's, and it seems reasonable, you know, to have washrooms out there.
"Cape Spear is one of the icons in all our tourism literature, and it would be great just to be able to give people some basic services or a pot to pee in while they're out there," Snow added.
Season not started, Parks Canada says
Glenn Keough, manager of National Historic Sites and Visitor Experience, said the Cape Spear site doesn't officially open until May 23.
Keough said opening the site for washroom use is not simple, and involves the transportation of water to the location.
According to Keough, the water must first be delivered and put into the system.
"The water actually may be on site this afternoon or tomorrow, and once that's done and all the pipes and tanks are tested, then they will be able to open them at that point in time," he said.
Keough said they try to accommodate groups as best they can.
"The last couple of years we've actually made sure that the site, particularly at Cape Spear, that the washrooms are open even on those days into the fall when the site is actually scheduled to be closed," he said.
"We like to work with our partners — the tourism operators, we sit on the cruise ship committee here," Keough added. "It's in our interests and it's been our mandate to have these sites available and to develop the best experience possible for people when they do come to these sites."
Keough said that there has been an increase in the number of staff at Cape Spear in the last two years during the peak season.