James Chabot back open for all to enjoy

By Chadd Cawson-Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Beaches were closed last Monday while Interior Health tested the waters. The responsibility of bacterial beach testing falls on local and regional governments. There is a beach sampling program in place which involves the local or regional government collecting a weekly sample of water from the swimming area of select beaches and submitting the sample to an accredited lab for testing.

Interior Health receives the results, and if the results exceed the guidelines, Interior Health consults with local government about posting a notification at the beach. Testing was done at both Kinsmen and James Chabot beach last week. The samples from Kinsmen Beach have all come back acceptable. A sign since has been posted only warning of swimmer’s itch.

“We received one unacceptable sample from James Chabot Beach on July 12th. Lake Windermere Ambassadors take three beach samples each week and one of the three sample came back with elevated levels of E. coli,” says Interior Health. “We asked the beach to post an advisory and resample.”

There are numerous factors that can affect the quality of beach and why it can fluctuate including weather events, runoff, currents, and waterfowl. To protect swimmers from illness that may be linked to unacceptable levels of bacteria beaches are monitored. According to Interior Health swimming in water with elevated bacterial counts can result in increased risk of ear, nose and throat infections or gastrointestinal illnesses.

Be aware of warning signs posted when you have an itch to swim to save yourself from one or getting sick after a dip. As of last Thursday, on July 21 there were many people at James Chabot proving that life is a beach as they enjoyed the water and the day.