Letter: Is it safe to swim in Maple Bay?

Is there a significant risk of illness?

Is it safe to swim in Maple Bay?

Is there a significant risk of illness?

Mayor Siebring, you recently shared a Facebook post advising people not to swim in Maple Bay.

The message was “Testing by Island Health shows bacteria counts exceeding acceptable limits — swimming and wading are NOT recommended at this time.”

This was due to a test by Island Health on June 7 where the bacterial count was 250 at the boat launch.

According to Island Health the results indicated 250 Enterococci per 100 mL of sample water.

Island Health issues advisories if “the results from a single sample has exceeded 70 (salt water), or the average (geometric mean) for the most recent five samples is greater than 35 (salt water) so there is a significant risk of illness and a beach advisory is generally necessary”.

Island Health is only testing every two weeks so by the time they issue the advisory, who knows how many swimmers have have unknowingly used the beach.

If Island Health only tests every two weeks during the summer could the municipality step up and do daily tests?

If you look at the test results over the last couple of years most days are fine, but when it spikes it is one of the most polluted beaches on the Island.

Hopefully you will get the municipality to see if it is feasible to test more often and dig into what is causing these spikes.

Rob Fullerton

North Cowichan