For Immediate Release: June 5, 2009
Marinas and Beaches Get International Blue Flag Status: First marinas in North America to get Blue Flag after meeting strict international standards
Toronto – Three marinas, the first in North America, were awarded a Blue Flag today after meeting strict international standards to protect the environment. Blue Flags were also awarded to 11 beaches for the 2009 swimming season. Beaches or marinas get certified under the Blue Flag program only after meeting high standards around water quality, environmental education, environmental management, and safety and services.
“These three marinas have worked really hard to meet the international standards, and we’re proud that Canada has the first Blue Flag marinas in North America,” said Sarah Winterton, Education and Outreach Director for Environmental Defence, the organization that runs the Blue Flag program in Canada. “Beaches and marinas are really embracing the Blue Flag program because it shows they are leaders.”
This summer, Blue Flags will fly at the following marinas: Bluewater Marina in the Municipality of Bluewater, and Grand Bend Marina and Port Franks Marina in the Municipality of Lambton Shores. All three marinas are on Lake Huron.
Blue Flags will also fly at the following beaches: Woodbine Beaches, Cherry Beach, Hanlan’s Point Beach, Ward’s Island Beach, Centre Island Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach, and Kew Balmy Beach on Lake Ontario in the City of Toronto; Sauble Beach on Lake Huron in the Town of South Bruce Peninsula; Station Beach on Lake Huron in the Municipality of Kincardine; Grand Bend Beach on Lake Huron in the Municipality of Lambton Shores; and, Wasaga Beach Provincial Park on Georgian Bay.
Seven beaches are also participating with Blue Flag Candidate status, which means they could receive full certification in future summers. These beaches include: Gimli North Beach on Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba; Canatara Park Beach on Lake Huron in the City of Sarnia; Port Stanley Main Beach on Lake Erie in the Municipality of Central Elgin; Bayfield Main Beach on Lake Huron in the Municipality of Bluewater; Rotary Cove Beach on Lake Huron in the Town of Goderich; Northwinds Beach Park and Little River Beach Park on Georgian Bay in the Town of the Blue Mountains
“We are extremely excited with the announcement,” said Bill Dowson, Mayor of the Municipality of Bluewater. “Bayfield Marina is a key component of our tourism economy and this Blue Flag designation will help make Bayfield an even more desirable destination.”
More than 3,200 marinas and beaches are certified under the Blue Flag program in 37 countries, including throughout Europe and in the Caribbean. Blue Flags have been awarded in Canada since 2003.
Marinas and beaches that want to receive a Blue Flag must apply each season. Independent juries of experts in Canada and internationally study each application and determine whether a marina or beach meets the standards for certification. Blue Flags can be removed during the season if a marina or beach fails to meet the required criteria.
“The designation of Grand Bend Beach and our two marinas as Blue Flag approved is fantastic news! Our goal of becoming a leading tourist destination in Ontario has made a major step forward, and we are honoured to be a part of the Blue Flag community,” said Gord Minielly, Mayor of the Municipality of Lambton Shores.
More details about the Blue Flag program and the certified marinas and beaches can be found on the web site at www.BlueFlag.ca.
Environmental Defence is the Canadian Operator of the Blue Flag Program. Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research solutions. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada’s contribution to climate change. www.environmentaldefence.ca
The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization consisting of member organizations representing 58 countries in Europe, Africa, Oceania and America. FEE actively promotes and delivers education about the environment and sustainable development through international programs such as the Blue Flag Program. www.fee-international.org
For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)