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Blue flag: Bell Park beach 'clean and safe'

Flag an international symbol of water quality
Bell Park Main Beach is flying the blue flag again. Assisting with the flag-raising Tuesday morning were (from left) Isabel Balarezo, Jennifer Babin-Fenske, Lori Henri and Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

For the second year in a row, Bell Park Main Beach has received an international certification for water quality, environmental education and management and safety and services.

As such, the City of Greater Sudbury is able to fly the blue flag at the beach, an international eco-label for beaches and marinas that have met 33 strict criteria.

The flag was raised for the season Tuesday morning.

“We're very pleased to have this for the second year in a row,” said Jennifer Babin-Fenske, co-ordinator of EarthCare Sudbury initiatives with the City of Greater Sudbury.

“By having it in consecutive years, it shows the community how dedicated we are to keeping our beaches clean and safe.”

In the past, Bell Park Main Beach has been closed in the summer for a few days due to issues with blue-green algae blooms or e-coli. 

For a beach to be awarded the blue flag designation, it needs to meet the water quality standards at least 80 per cent of the time during the bathing season.

When the water's not safe to swim, the flag is temporarily lowered.

Isabel Balarezo, who works for Environmental Defence, which operates the blue flag program in Canada, was on hand for the flag-raising ceremony. 

Bell Park Main Beach is only one of 26 beaches and seven marinas in the country to bear such a designation. “It's great that they're being awarded it again,” she said. “We're very happy for them.”

Sudburians are lucky to have a jewel like Bell Park Main Beach right in the heart of the city, said Babin-Fenske.

“In many communities, residents have to go many kilometres to find a beautiful beach like this,” she said.

Babin-Fenske said the city is now applying to have Moonlight Beach receive the blue flag designation as well.

What the blue flag means:

-Clean water for swimming.
-A sustainably managed beach or marina.
-Safe access for all ages and for people with disabilities.
-Lifeguards or lifesaving equipment available at the beach.
-Clean and accessible washrooms.
-Adequate litter bins and recycling.
-Protection for endangered species and habitat.
-Educational activities that promote sustainability.
-A commitment to uphold international standards.


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