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.

Port AlberniSwimming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Family Farm Day in the Alberni Valley goes virtual

Take part in a scavenger hunt for a chance to win a gift basket

LOOK BACK: Port Alberni’s first clocktower

Take a peek at Port Alberni’s history with the Alberni Valley Museum

QUINN’S QUIPS: Reconciliation is only as strong as its partnerships

Bamfield Road deal is an ideal example of the province working with First Nations

ARTS AROUND: Last chance to view First Nations art exhibit in Port Alberni

‘Together’ runs at Rollin Art Centre until the end of September

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Conservation officers free fawn stuck in fence in Nanaimo

Fawn was uninjured after getting caught in fence in Hammond Bay area Wednesday

Most Read