TORONTO (August 4, 2006) Chronic beach closures are on the rise in almost every municipality across Lake Ontario for the Summer 2006 bathing season.
That's the interim finding of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper's ongoing beach monitoring project. Each summer, Waterkeeper keeps a daily record of which beaches have been posted as safe or unsafe for swimming. Municipalities sample for E-coli and post a beach when results indicate levels above 100 units. Waterkeeper checks beach websites and hotlines daily to keep a running tally of beach postings along the Ontario shoreline.
Our monitoring program is the best indicator of which municipalities are making real strides to win back Lake Ontario's beaches, says Waterkeeper Mark Mattson. It tells us which beaches are posted and how often. We can see which communities are getting cleaner and which are not. And we can track overall trends across the lake.
The July 2006 report analyzes data for 40 beaches in seven municipalities. The following are the report's key findings:
Closures increased in July over June in every region, except for Prince Edward County:
Region JuneJuly Durham Region 20%55% Hamilton 19% 53% Northumberland County 15% 21% Mississauga 0% 15% Prince Edward County 31% 9% St. Catharines 61% 76% Toronto 22% 38%
â€¢ Three beaches were closed 100% of the time in July. They were Bayfront Park Beach, in Hamilton, Rotary Park Beach, in Ajax and Lakeview Beach West, in Oshawa. â€¢ Eight beaches were always open in July compared to sixteen in June. They were: Lakefront Promenade, in Mississauga; Hanlan's point, in Toronto; Frenchman's Bay West and Whitby Beach, in Durham Region; Centennial Park Northport and Zwick's Island, in Prince Edward County; and Port Hope East and Victoria, in Northumberland.
As the summer progresses, conditions at beaches tend to get worse,ï Mattson says. Many beaches don't come close to being open 95% of the time, which is the province's standard for a clean beach.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper will continue its monitoring project throughout the summer. A full review of the Summer 2006 swimming season is due out in the fall. Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is an Environmental justice organization based in Toronto and part of a global alliance led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Contact: Mark Mattson, President and Waterkeeper, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, (416) 861-1237.