With Victoria Beach closed on Weekends and Holidays and limited to 1200 capacity on weekdays, visitors will be looking for other local beaches. The West Beach would be a good bet but it’s not groomed and hard for visitors to find. Another obvious swimming spot is the beach in the Harbour along the West headland. Locals avoid it because they know that it’s often unsafe because of a high e-coli count caused by water that doesn’t move much and pollution from gulls and ducks. The main Harbour area on the east side (see picture below) is already a “no-swimming” area because of the danger from boats but Council moved on Monday to also ban swimming in the rest of the Harbour. The motion to do this will be ratified at the Regular Council meeting on July 26 – ironically the same meeting when the closing of Victoria Park Beach will also be re-considered. [Update: The motion to ban was ratified].
The West Harbour is popular with small boats but it does have a small stretch of sand and would seem attractive to people denied access to the main beach. The revised bylaw would allow short term “swimming” if a boat occupant finds themselves in the water but signs would be erected to warn that recreational swimming is prohibited.
As described in an earlier Post, Council have directed staff to implement staff recommendations to manage beach crowds (as approved by the Parks and Recreation Advisory committee – go here for the article) – but these won’t be in place until the 2022 season. Meanwhile, swimming in the west Harbour will be banned.
I can see the West Beach getting crowded.
- Few visitors find West Beach – but a good number found this article online.