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Beach closures before the long weekend

By Shelden Rogers

Sandbanks beach was posted with beach closure signs today, warning people to stay out of the water, but it didn’t seem to reach most of the people on the beach.

Lake Ontario’s water that runs on the shores of Sandbanks Provincial Park in Picton was ruled unsafe for swimming due to high E Coli. The park posted signs along parking lots to tell the public about the water conditions.

Suzanna Roloson didn’t realize the unsafe water conditions until she had already spent a full day at the beach.

After she was told about the E Coli levels she began to get worried.

“I’m a little worried because I just washed my 15 month old baby in the water,” said Roloson.

Roloson and her family have a season pass and drove right past the front office. She didn’t see any warning signs on her way to the beach. She thinks there needs to be more warning to make sure people didn’t do what she did.

“I’m not sure if it was on the news or the radio because I didn’t hear it there. Maybe like a big sign on the road or a big sign when you come in would be good,” said Roloson.

Robin Reilly, superintendent for Sandbanks beach, said as soon as high E Coli levels are recognized, the first concern is to inform the public.

“It’s unpredictable, but our job is to get people that information,” said Reilly.

He said he hasn’t received any complaints about the conditions of the beach.

“People come in and say why is the beach closed and what does that mean, but I haven’t heard a complaint about the beach being closed,” said Reilly.

Robert Laporte travelled six hours with his family to come to Sandbanks this week. He and his family have been staying at the Sandbanks campground for the last three days. They didn’t see the signs today until they were about to walk onto the beach.

“We went to the other beach and saw the sings and unfortunately the water is not good. So we decided to come to the Sandbanks beach but in the end it’s still not very good,” said Laporte.

Once he saw the signs he decided to make the best of it and hangout on the beach anyways.

“It’s quite sad because we drove six hours, we got here three days ago and today has been the worst day. So instead of swimming we makes sand castles with the children,” said Laporte.

Laporte’s first language is French and had a difficult time reading the warning signs. He thinks having signs in French would have helped him plan the day better.

“Sandbanks is a national destination and I think it would be great to post the information in French too. If people don’t understand the sign that’s bad. That might be something to think about,” said Laporte.

Super Intendant for Sandbanks beach, Robin Reilly said as soon as high E Coli levels are recognized, the first concern is to inform the public.

“It’s unpredictable, but our job is to get people that information,” said Reilly.

He said he hasn’t received any complaints about the conditions of the beach.

“People come in and say why is the beach closed and what does that mean, but I haven’t heard a complaint about the beach being closed,” said Reilly.

The beach is expecting three to four thousand people this weekend and are hoping for the bacteria levels to go down. But superintendent Reilly knows it is beyond his control and it’s all part of the job.

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