Once again, Goderich’s own Rotary Cove Beach has been nominated to fly a Blue Flag
By Dominique Milburn
Goderich Signal-Star Staff
Wednesday June 13, 2007
Once again, Goderich’s own Rotary Cove Beach has been nominated to fly a Blue Flag, an international sign for clean beaches.
Environmental Defense announced last week that nine beaches had been certified to fly the banner while an additional three had been named Candidate Blue Flag Beaches. That means that Goderich could be flying the flag at the beginning of the 2008 swimming season.
“We hope to get back on track in the next couple of months,” said Goderich Mayor Deb Shewfelt. “We were up for a flag last year as well, but fell short of meeting the criteria.”
Right off the heels of a presentation to the International Joint Commission’s 2007 Great Lakes Biennial Meeting and Conference Chicago, Shewfelt said that he is hopeful that the town will receive a flag next season.
The Rotary Cove in Goderich was nominated for the flag last year, but because there was insufficient staff available to actively pursue the program, the beach fell short of receiving the designation for this 2007 season.
“[The Town] had started to work on some education programs about the sand dunes and grass and specific problems, and that’s part of working towards getting approved for the flag,” he said. “But when [the environmental technologist] left us, it was put on hold.”
There is good news coming from Town Hall as a recent hiring has filled the town’s environmental services technologist position, previously held by Cameron Straughan.
“[Straughan] had the Blue Flag program up and ready to proceed, but finding a person with the right qualifications has taken us quite a while,” said Shewfelt. “Now that the hiring is done, we’ll get back into trying to meet the criteria for the flag.”
Six beaches in Toronto, one on Georgian Bay and two on Lake Huron were awarded the flag this season, including Station Beach in Kincardine, and Sauble Beach in South Bruce Peninsula.
The Blue Flag can be seen flying at more than 2,600 beaches in 36 countries around the world. As part of the flag requirements, beaches in Canada must meet Ontario’s standards for the recreational water quality (the most stringent in North America) at least 80 per cent of the swimming season.
Two independent juries – the Blue Flag Great Lakes Regional Jury and the International Blue Flag Jury certify beaches. Blue Flags are awarded at the beginning of each swimming season and beaches can lose their Blue Flags during the season if they fail to meet the required criteria.
“We have a wealth of beaches and beautiful waterfronts right across Canada that we can all be proud of,” said Sarah Winterton, program director of Environmental Defense, the Blue Flag coordinator in Canada. “The Blue Flag is a great way for communities to work together to protect and enjoy their beaches.”
Six beaches in Toronto, one on Georgian Bay and two on Lake Huron were awarded the flag this season, including Station Beach in Kincardine, and Sauble Beach in South Bruce Peninsula.
The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), based in Denmark, owns and operates the Blue Flag Program. Environmental Defense is the Canadian National Operator of Blue Flag. The goal is for beaches across Canada to meet national Blue Flag standards, ensuring that Canadians enjoy clean beaches.