Bayfield is setting a precedent for its fellow coastal communities.
The Municipality of Bluewater was the recipient of the blue flag award at Bluewater marina and main beach and last Friday two blue flags were raised in the village.
The blue flag designation is ecocertification administered by Environmental Defence in Canada and by the Foundation for Environmental Education internationally.
Across the country 26 beaches and six marinas are flying the blue flag. Bayfield joins 49 other countries and more than 4,000 beaches and marinas that have been certified all over the world.
The blue flag is awarded to places that meet standards in safety, water quality, environmental education, management and sustainability each year. Beaches must meet provincial standards for water quality and safety standards, including lifeguards or lifesaving equipment. Beaches are required to meet 33 criteria and marinas must meet 25.
The Bluewater marina was the first blue flag designated marina in Canada. A new goal in the works is for every boat in the marina to uphold eco-standards and to fly a blue flag.
Bluewater Mayor Tyler Hessel said the idea to pursue the blue flag designation was initiated by Deputy Mayor Jim Fergusson over five years ago and it quickly gained support from the rest of Council.
Hessel praised the partnerships between Council and other groups, like the Pioneer Park Association and the marina that were integral to ensure the beach and marina are up to the standard for the blue flag designation.
“I think it’s important that these partnerships continue going forward,” Hessel said. “It’s one of those things when we’re all working together great things can happen.”
The beach and marina are of significant economic importance to Bluewater and maintaining them will draw tourism to the area. Hessel wants the water to be maintained so future generations can enjoy it too.
“Blue flag is an example of us thinking about the children of the future. Making sure that they are going to have a chance to use the beach, swim in it, surf in it and just have the fun that I had when I was their age.”