Many Island beaches to be monitored less often in 2019

Reduced testing announced after years of consistent good results

MANITOULIN – Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) has scaled back its testing of several Island beaches from a once-weekly to a once-monthly schedule.

In a notice to the Township of Tehkummah, the health unit stated that the water samples at the South Baymouth beach have been satisfactory over the past five years and it had therefore decided to reduce the amount of required testing at the site.

“We will continue with the annual pre-season environmental assessment which will be to confirm the suitability of the site for public recreational use,” the notice states, an activity that is scheduled to take place in mid to late June of this year. Should the beach pass the test, PHSD sampling and inspections will occur in mid-July and mid-August.

If the health unit discovers concerning water quality issues or any hazards at the beach, its staff will resume the weekly testing regimen.

Other Island beaches that will be monitored on a monthly schedule are Gore Bay beach, Little Current beach, Green Bay’s Sandy Beach, Manitowaning beach, Sandfield beach, Monument Road beach and Sheguiandah beach.

Providence Bay beach, Maple Ridge Sandy Beach and Kagawong beach will remain on the weekly sampling schedule.

Tehkummah resident David Samuels submitted a letter and photos to council to express his concerns about debris at the South Baymouth beach. He stated his efforts last year, approved by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, reached a snag because there was no easy way to remove the debris.

Tehkummah clerk-administrator Roy Hardy said the township had a number of pressing projects currently underway but expressed his hope that volunteers may step forward and offer their assistance on the beach. He noted that with the current high water levels, the amount of beach space was next to nothing as the water rose to the edge of the grass.