Nothing is better than splashing around in the water on a hot summer day, but B.C. residents should be questioning whether that refreshing dip is going to make them sick, says Lauren Hornor, executive director of Fraser Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization working to ensure B.C. waters are safe for swimming, drinking and fishing.
This week, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority issued a “no swimming” advisory for three West Vancouver beaches due to high levels of E.coli, which can increase risk of gastro-intestinal illness.
“Due to high levels of bacteria in the water swimming is not recommended at Ambleside, Dundarave and Sandy Cove beaches,” the health authority said.
While some B.C. health authorities immediately post fecal coliform bacteria levels online after receiving test results for beaches, others either do not receive regular information or do not make those figures public unless levels are dangerously high, Hornor said.
That means people do not know pollution levels at some of the region’s most popular beaches, including White Rock, Cultus Lake, Crescent Beach, Alice Lake Park Beach in Squamish and Camp Jubilee on Indian Arm, Hornor said.