Growing Number of Beaches Get International Blue Flag Status

15 beaches and three marinas meet strict international standards for cleanliness and environmental management

TORONTO, June 7 /CNW/ - Fifteen beaches and three marinas were awarded a Blue Flag today by Environmental Defence after meeting strict international standards to protect the environment. Blue Flag beaches must meet high standards for water quality, environmental education, environmental management, and safety and services.

"Behind each Blue Flag is a community of people who recognize the importance of protecting their beach and marina, for the benefit of the people who enjoy it and for the environment," said Sarah Winterton, Education and Outreach Director for Environmental Defence, the organization that runs the Blue Flag program in Canada. "We're so pleased to award Blue Flags to these outstanding beaches and marinas."

This summer, Blue Flags will fly at the following beaches: Kew-Balmy Beach, Woodbine Beach, Cherry Beach, Ward's Island Beach, Centre Island Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach, Hanlan's Point Beach on Lake Ontario in the City of Toronto; Port Stanley Main Beach on Lake Erie in the Municipality of Central Elgin; Grand Bend Beach, on Lake Huron in the Municipality of Lambton Shores; Bayfield Main Beach on Lake Huron in the Municipality of Bluewater; Station Beach, on Lake Huron in Kincardine; Sauble Beach, on Lake Huron in the Town of South Bruce Peninsula; Little River Beach Park and Northwinds Beach Park on Georgian Bay in the Town of the Blue Mountains; and Wasaga Beach Provincial Park on Georgian Bay. Three marinas, all on Lake Huron, also received a Blue Flag: Bluewater Marina; Grand Bend Marina; and Port Franks Marina.

Five beaches are also participating with Blue Flag Candidate status, which means they could receive full certification in future summers. These beaches include: Bluffer's Park, on Lake Ontario in the City of Toronto, Professor's Lake Park in Brampton, Canatara Park, on Lake Huron in Sarnia, Rotary Cove Beach, on Lake Huron in Goderich, and Gimli North Beach, on Lake Winnipeg in Gimli, Manitoba.

"Central Elgin will be proud to fly the Blue Flag. The Municipality and community have worked hard over several years to achieve this international beach quality designation," said Mayor Tom Marks. "Port Stanley Main Beach is an important tourist draw. With the Blue Flag designation, this beach is now formally recognized as one of the best beaches in the world."

More than 3,400 beaches and marinas are certified under the Blue Flag program in 41 countries, including throughout Europe and in the Caribbean. Blue Flags have been awarded in Canada since 2003.

Beaches and marinas that want to receive a Blue Flag must apply each season. Independent juries of experts in Canada and internationally review each application and determine whether a marina or beach meets the standards for certification. Blue Flags can be removed during the season if a marina or beach fails to meet the required criteria.

More details about the Blue Flag program and the certified marinas and beaches can be found on the web site at www.BlueFlag.ca.

Environmental Defence is the Canadian Operator of the Blue Flag Program. Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research solutions. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada's contribution to climate change. www.environmentaldefence.ca

The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization consisting of member organizations representing 58 countries in Europe, Africa, Oceania and America. FEE actively promotes and delivers education about the environment and sustainable development through international programs such as the Blue Flag Program.

www.fee-international.org

SOURCE Environmental Defence

For further information: For further information: or to arrange interviews, please contact: Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232, (647) 280-9521 (cell)


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