No-swimming advisories not stopping people from taking a dip at Parlee Beach

Despite the no-swimming advisories three days in a row, it's been business as usual at Parlee Beach.

After three days of poor water quality, the no-swimming advisory was lifted late in the day Tuesday

Many children were playing in the water at Parlee Beach despite the no-swimming advisory. (CBC)

A no-swimming advisory during the entire New Brunswick Day weekend didn't stop beachgoers from taking a dip at Parlee Beach.

Water samples turned up with high levels of fecal bacteria three days in a row — from water tested Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

But the beach was busy, with lifeguards watching over it and many children swimming in the water.

Some beachgoers said they were not too worried about the advisories.

"I'm not going in the water," Genevieve Paquin, who is here on vacation from Quebec, said Tuesday. 

"The kids do, and they don't mind. But we make sure to take a shower after that and rinse really good."

World-famous Parlee Beach, and its water quality problems, is part of the riding of Shediac-Beaubassin-Cap-Pelé. (CBC)

Others, meanwhile, had no idea a no-swimming advisory was in place.

"We didn't know," said Rhonda Harding, who is here on vacation with a group of people from Newfoundland. "We didn't see anything on the way in. There was nothing very evident to us."

Harding said more should be done to inform visitors, because had she known about the weekend water quality at Parlee, she wouldn't have let her son swim.

Harding said she wishes she knew about the no-swimming advisory before coming to the beach. (CBC)

"Our kids are down there right now, so yeah, it's not a good feeling … I would think that a lot of people on this beach right now obviously don't know about what's happening because there's so many people in the water."

Tough on business 

Although the advisories aren't necessarily stopping people from going to the beach, it's been bad for business.

"We're right in the centre of the town," said Mario Cormier, general manager of the IGA Coop.

"We've seen the transactions, and the people coming into the store was considerably less than the years before, so it is quite a concern."

Mario Cormier said it's been a tough year for business, and he may have to cut staff if things don't improve. (CBC)

Cormier said it was a slow New Brunswick Day weekend. And if things don't get better, he'll have to cut staff.

"I mean all businesses we have to survive, so we'll need to take some decisions, and unfortunately it's the employees," he said.

Nothing to be alarmed about

Meanwhile, the province said people who want to visit Parlee Beach shouldn't be too worried.

"It's not something that we haven't seen before," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health.

"Last summer, we actually did see the same type of results three days in a row in July, where the numbers were elevated and a no-swimming advisory posted at that time."

Dr. Jennifer Russell said advisories like the ones seen at Parlee over the holiday weekend aren't unusual. (CBC)

"So really, it's not alarming, it's not surprising, it's part of the normal flow of events."

When fecal bacteria levels are elevated, it's not recommended that people — especially children and elderly — swim or dip their heads in the water, because the higher the bacteria level, the higher the chance of getting sick.

"Whether you're in a swimming pool, whether you're in a lake, whether you're in the ocean, there's a risk for every body of water," Russell said.

"So you need to always know you should shower after you go in, you should not go in if you have open wounds and cuts, you shouldn't swallow the water — those are the types of messages that we want people to know."

The no-swimming advisory was removed late in the day Tuesday, after the last test result — this one from Sunday, came back within limits, according to the Canadian recreational water quality standards.