Sudbury

'Blue Flag' marks Sudbury's Bell Park beach as world-class spot for a swim

A "Blue Flag" will fly at Sudbury's Bell Park Beach this summer. The flag is being raised to symbolize the beach's new distinction as a world-class swimming destination.

"People are unsure of whether the water quality is good or not, but Blue Flag gives that stamp of approval"

Blue Flags are awarded to beaches and marinas that meet strict criteria for water quality and environmental management. (Environmental Defence)

A "Blue Flag" will fly at Sudbury's Bell Park Beach this summer.

The flag is being raised to symbolize the beach's new distinction as a world-class swimming destination.

Brett Tryon, the Blue Flag program manager at the organization Environmental Defence, said the new international recognition means the beach consistently meets provincial water quality standards.

"In a lot of places, people are unsure of whether the water quality is good or not, but Blue Flag gives that stamp of approval," she said. "So you know that beach consistently meets the provincial water quality standards."

But, Tryon said the designation can be taken away if things change.

Swimming at Bell Park's main beach has been restricted in recent summers due to blue-green algae blooms. (Megan Thomas/CBC)
"If there's an algae bloom or if there were any sort of pollution incident that had a major effect on public health, the Blue Flag would come down during that time," she said.

Blue-green algae did bloom in Ramsey Lake last year and in previous years.

But Charles Ramcharan, an associate professor in the School of the Environment at Laurentian University, said he doesn't think the algae should make people question the cleanliness of Bell Park Beach.

"You know, there are beach closures, but one of the aspects of the Blue Flag program is that the beach is monitored for those type of issues, so that if something crops up, then people will know," he said. 

There are currently Blue Flags flying over 25 other beaches and six marinas across Canada, including Waubuno Beach in Parry Sound.

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