E.coli keeps Sunnybrae beach closed

Shuswap: Other beaches in the region unaffected, tests conducted regularly.

E.coli keeps Sunnybrae beach closed.

E.coli keeps Sunnybrae beach closed.

Unacceptable E.coli levels in the water prompted the closure of Sunnybrae beach on July 28.

Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) staff made the decision to close the beach after two consecutive weekly water samples taken at the Sunnybrae beach tested positive for unsafe levels of E.coli with Interior Health.

According to CSRD Manager of Operations Darcy Mooney samples taken on July 18 or 19 had E. coli levels exceeding the acceptable amounts. After receiving the results of the tests from Interior Health CSRD staff performed another test on July 25 which also contained unacceptable amounts of E.coli. After the second test the decision was made to close the beach.

“It could be anything from a human caused issue to birds and geese, we’ve had that experience in other beach areas where a proliferation of geese and ducks can cause the sort of E.coli measurement that we see here,” Mooney said.

The beach will remain closed until Interior Health receives two samples taken at different times and places near the beach that contains acceptable levels of E.coli.

Mooney said it would be at least seven to 10 days before the beach could be cleared for reopening.

Sunnybrae Bible Camp Director Tim Paquette said that water quality is not an immediate concern at the camp.

“They take a sample at the public beaches to the left and the right of us once a week. The closer one to us Herald park is showing clean samples and it matches our topography. The one that’s further is the shallow inlet part,” he said.

Paquette said that the camp requested CSRD perform a water test directly at the camp and is still awaiting the results of that test, but did not anticipate a problem.

Rob Niewenhuizen, the City of Salmon Arm’s ┬áDirector of Engineering and Public Works says that the city’s monthly water test at Canoe Beach was submitted to Interior Health last week and had no issues. Niewenhuizen added it is up to Interior Health to alter the testing schedule at Canoe or other beaches and the next scheduled test is in approximately two weeks.