Toronto strike impacts beach water

Blue flags taken down from city’s seven cleanest beaches
By Kris Scheuer

The city’s beaches are open to help beat the summer heat. But beware: water testing has been suspended as a result of the city strike. 
“We are not testing water at the beaches,” Lisa Tjoeng, a City of Toronto spokesperson, confirmed June 23. “They can swim at their own risk.”
There are lifeguards on duty at the beaches, she said. 
On June 10, the city officially opened 11 designated beaches for the season, including seven with international Blue Flag ratings.
The seven Blue Flag beaches are: Kew-Balmy, Cherry, Woodbine, Hanlan’s Point, Gibraltar, Centre Island, Ward’s Island.
But those flags will not be flapping during the strike because some key criteria is not being met, according to Environmental Defence, which monitors the Blue Flag program in Canada. 
“Blue Flag certification requires that, amongst other criteria, washroom facilities are available on beaches, garbage is picked up frequently and water quality tests are conducted at least weekly,” states a June 23 press release from Environmental Defence. “Currently, beach water quality testing is not being performed, public washrooms are locked and garbage removal is reduced.”
The labour disruption that began at midnight the morning of June 22 impacts not just water testing at beaches, but also daycare, summer camps, garbage pick-up and pools run by city workers. 
For more information on what is and is not open during the strike visit http://www.toronto.ca/labour-relations/index.htm.
(Originally published online June 24 at http://www.mytowncrier.ca)
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One response to “Toronto strike impacts beach water

  1. I have updated this story July 4. The city is doing water testing at five beaches twice a week.
    The lucky five are: Sunnyside, Cherry, Woodbine, Kew-Balmy and Bluffer’s Park.
    As of July 11, the city’s latest water tests for July 10 show all five beaches safe for swimming.
    But at six other city beaches Marie Curtis Park East, Rouge, Hanlan’s Point, Gibraltar Point, Centre Island, and Ward’s Island it’s still swim at your own risk as there’s no city beach water tests at these locations during the strike.

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