While growing up in London, ON, I would make several trips a year with friends and family to the beach in Port Stanley – a small town on the shores of Lake Erie.
While growing up in London, ON, I would make several trips a year with friends and family to the beach in Port Stanley – a small town on the shores of Lake Erie. For me, the beach is a treasured place full of fond memories; I always try to make at least one trip there during the summer when I visit my hometown.
I recently joined the communications team at Environmental Defence, and was beyond delighted to learn that the beach in Port Stanley is a Blue Flag beach. If you are unfamiliar with the Blue Flag
program, it is an internationally recognized, prestigious award for beaches and marinas that have achieved international standards in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety and services. In Canada, Environmental Defence manages the Blue Flag program. There are currently 17 beaches and four marinas in Canada that have the Blue Flag designation.
On Aug. 16, I headed to Port Stanley with my colleague Brett, who coordinates the program, to do a review of the beach. We went through a checklist to see if the beach was continuing to meet the strict criteria required to achieve a Blue Flag. It was! The beach was clean – no litter in the sand or the water, lots of bins for garbage and recycling, and the water quality has been excellent all summer. It was also safe with lifeguards on duty and emergency equipment available. There was plenty of information on-site to educate people about protecting the sensitive dune habitat. The washrooms were clean, and there was a boardwalk that made the beach accessible to strollers and wheelchairs.
What touched me the most was when we chatted with some of the lifeguards and the beach manager, Tim McKenna. They were all so proud that their beach was awarded the Blue Flag – they were beaming! For them, it was recognition of their hard work to make the beach safe for families while protecting the natural environment at the same time.
As a local girl, I was so happy to know that the beach is being taken care of for generations to come. Great work, Port Stanley Beach!