A swimming advisory sign was up at Canal Waterfront Park on July 23, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Canal Beach in Port Alberni open for swimming

Beach had been closed in July after high bacteria readings were detected in the water

Canal Waterfront Park is open for swimming, despite an advisory earlier this summer, but the City of Port Alberni is working on longer-term options when it comes to communicating advisories.

Earlier this summer, some local residents were surprised to find a Beach Advisory Warning at Canal Waterfront Park (also known as Canal Beach), warning the public that the water was unsafe for swimming and other water contact activities after water tests found “high levels of bacteria.”

In response, former mayor John Douglas wrote a letter to council, criticizing the city for a lack of openness.

“The common practices when a beach or other area is closed due to health reasons is to provide the reason, and to provide reasonable updates, in most cases daily and publicly, for example on a website and on a bulletin board at the specific location,” he wrote. “It also, in this case, would be reasonable to have provided to the public the test results of alternative swimming sites, such as River Road, Paper Mill Dam, and Sproat Lake Provincial Park.”

Ci Beach Sampling Report by Elena Rardon on Scribd

During a council meeting on Monday, July 27, Parks, Recreation and Heritage manager Willa Thorpe said that the city is conducting weekly tests at Canal Waterfront Park, and is working with Island Health on next steps.

“It’s often a challenge with testing results at Canal Beach,” she said. “We’ve been testing Canal for six years, and often this time of year we receive positive tests.”

She added that the city is looking at “longer-term options” for communicating with the public, so swimmers know exactly what to expect as the summer months approach and positive tests are recorded.

“We want to ensure that our messaging is consistent with our health officers, so we are consistent with how we’re testing, our procedures and how we’re communicating with the public,” said Thorpe.

Last summer, the beach was closed to swimming for a few weeks in July after high levels of bacteria were detected in the water.

Island Health’s Central Vancouver Island Beach Sampling Results show that there was a high reading at the end of June this year. Thorpe confirmed on Thursday, July 30 that the advisory at Canal Beach was then lifted after two consecutive weeks of “clean” samples.

“Canal Beach is open for swimming,” she said. “There is no current advisory in place. In the event that there is an advisory, our website will be updated.”

The city is also conducting regular tests at Paper Mill Dam.


Just Posted

PHOTOS: Gallery explores ‘broken promises’ during Japanese Canadian internment in 1940s

‘Broken Promises’ to acknowledge the thousands of Japanese Canadians who faced dispossession

Break and enters have doubled this year in Victoria

VicPD is warning residents to take precautions after huge increase from 2019

B.C. Greens hurrying to get candidates in place for provincial election

No candidates announced yet in Nanaimo, Nanaimo-North Cowichan or Parksville-Qualicum

Couple that owned Sooke Harbour House awarded $4 million after lengthy court case

B.C. Supreme Court rules in favour of Frederique and Sinclair Philip

Tofino-Ucluelet region rallies around injured five-month-old puppy

A puppy is home and healing after being struck by a vehicle in Hitacu

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Comox Valley’s Father Charles Brandt to receive national lifetime achievement award

Father Charles was instrumental in creating the Oyster River Enhancement Society

After 53 years, Saanich Jr. B team rebrands as Predators

Saanich Predators Junior B hockey team navigates COVID, culture

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Old North Island landfills expected to close by 2023

Waste from Zeballos, Tahsis and Gold River to be transferred to a modern facility in Cumberland

Heavy rains cause wastewater overflow off Oak Bay, Saanich beaches

Affected beaches will be posted with public health advisory signs

Local MP Elizabeth May likes aspects of throne speech, but questions execution

According to May nobody in Ottawa is as ‘reckless’ as BC’s John Horgan

Comox suspicious van report leads police to issue important reminders

Police received a report about a suspicious white van driving slowly around Comox.

‘Won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving:’ Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada

Most Read