The main beach at Winnipeg Beach Provincial Park and the West Beach at Grand Beach Provincial Park received Blue Flag status for their excellence in water quality and environmental management. Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh made the announcement May 28.
“This recognition reflects our commitment to upholding some of the highest standards in the world to ensure clean, safe beaches,” said Mackintosh in a prepared statement. “We will proudly fly the Blue Flag at these beaches this summer as a symbol of our continuing efforts to protect and preserve our province’s many wonderful natural resources so they may be enjoyed safely for generations to come.”
Gimli MLA and Housing & Community Development Minister Peter Bjornson added his congratulations
“The beauty of Winnipeg Beach is well known to Manitobans, many of whom make it part of their summer plans year after year,” Bjornson said. “It is fitting the beach is being recognized in its centennial year as one of the best destinations for families who love the outdoors. It’s also a tribute to Mayor Tony Pimentel, the council, residents and businesses for all the excellent work they have done to help the beach achieve this international honour.”
The Blue Flag program, endorsed by the United Nations, is owned and operated by the Denmark-based Foundation for Environmental Education. In Canada, the program is administered by Environmental Defence Canada, a non-profit organization renowned for its work in preventing and reducing pollution and its effects on human health.
The Blue Flag program requires beaches to be reviewed on 32 criteria related to water quality, environmental education, environmental management, safety and services. The standards ensure the beach is protected and that public use will not harm its ecosystem.
“The Blue Flag program is seeing incredible growth in Canada,” said Brett Tryon, program manager, Blue Flag Canada. “Canada is known for its vast and beautiful shorelines. As more communities receive the Blue Flag, it is a testament to their desire and hard work to improve the health of our watersheds and coastal habitats, and protect them for future generations.”
The designation must be approved by a regional Canadian jury made up of independent stakeholders and experts, before receiving final approval from an international jury in Europe. Beaches in 36 countries are certified under the Blue Flag program including 24 beaches and marinas in Canada.
For more information on the Blue Flag program, go to www.blueflag.ca and for information on Grand Beach and Winnipeg Beach, go to: www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/parks/popular_parks/central/index.html.
http://www.winnipegsun.com/2014/06/07/winnipeg-beach-grand-beach-earn-bl…