Toronto, ON – The decision by the Town of South Bruce Peninsula’s council to extend beach raking at Sauble Beach is a step backwards, and shows disregard for the ecological protection of Sauble Beach and its endangered bird life. After 10 years of promoting the Town of South Bruce Peninsula as a leader in environmental best practices, it is with regret that we must revoke the Blue Flag designation for Sauble Beach.
Despite the advice of environmental experts, provincial government staff and overwhelming public opposition to habitat destruction at Sauble Beach, council has amended the policy “Raking and Maintenance of the Sand Beach at Sauble Beach.” The change in policy means that raking may take place all the way to the water’s edge, removing important habitat for the Piping Plover, an endangered shorebird which has been nesting at Sauble Beach since 2007. The Plovers have nested in various locations at Sauble Beach, and therefore the majority of the beach from 2nd Street north to the river is protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Therefore raking of this habitat would result in illegal action by the municipality.
The amendment to the policy will also result in the destruction of dunes that have been restored to a natural state. Dunes perform an important ecological function, keeping sand in the beach system. The Friends of Sauble Beach have fought for years to restore and protect these dunes, which are a natural feature of the Lake Huron shoreline and should be protected.
Sauble Beach is well-loved by nature enthusiasts and beach-goers in the community and throughout the province, many of whom didn’t want to see this plan go ahead.
The Blue Flag is only awarded to communities that demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship. The town has shown disregard for sustainable practices and the ecological health of the beach and has acted in discord with the objectives and spirit of the Blue Flag program.
About BLUE FLAG (blueflag.ca): Blue Flag is a highly respected and recognized international eco-label that is awarded to beaches and marinas that meet strict criteria for water quality, environmental education, environmental management, and safety and services. Environmental Defence is the Canadian Operator of the Blue Flag program. The program is managed internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
-30-
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Jen Mayville, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 228; 905-330-0172 (cell); jmayville@environmentaldefence.ca