Marinas and Beaches Get International Blue Flag Status



    
    First marinas in North America to get Blue Flag after meeting strict
    international standards;

    Gimli North Beach in Manitoba awarded Blue Flag Candidate status
    

    TORONTO, June 5 /CNW/ - Three marinas, the first in North America, were
awarded a Blue Flag today after meeting strict international standards to
protect the environment. Blue Flags were also awarded to 11 beaches for the
2009 swimming season. For the first time this year, a beach outside of Ontario
has joined the Blue Flag program. Gimli North Beach on Lake Winnipeg in
Manitoba is one of the candidate Blue Flag beaches, which means it could be
fully certified as early as next summer.
    Beaches or marinas get certified under the Blue Flag program only after
meeting high standards around water quality, environmental education,
environmental management, and safety and services.
    "These three marinas have worked really hard to meet the international
standards, and we're proud that Canada has the first Blue Flag marinas in
North America," said Sarah Winterton, Education and Outreach Director for
Environmental Defence, the organization that runs the Blue Flag program in
Canada. "Beaches and marinas are really embracing the Blue Flag program
because it shows they are leaders."
    This summer, Blue Flags will fly at the following marinas: Bluewater
Marina in the Municipality of Bluewater, and Grand Bend Marina and Port Franks
Marina in the Municipality of Lambton Shores. All three marinas are on Lake
Huron.
    Blue Flags will also fly at the following beaches: Woodbine Beaches,
Cherry Beach, Hanlan's Point Beach, Ward's Island Beach, Centre Island Beach,
Gibraltar Point Beach, and Kew Balmy Beach on Lake Ontario in the City of
Toronto; Sauble Beach on Lake Huron in the Town of South Bruce Peninsula;
Station Beach on Lake Huron in the Municipality of Kincardine; Grand Bend
Beach on Lake Huron in the Municipality of Lambton Shores; and, Wasaga Beach
Provincial Park on Georgian Bay.
    Seven beaches are also participating with Blue Flag Candidate status,
which means they could receive full certification in future summers. These
beaches include: Gimli North Beach on Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba; Canatara Park
Beach on Lake Huron in the City of Sarnia; Port Stanley Main Beach on Lake
Erie in the Municipality of Central Elgin; Bayfield Main Beach on Lake Huron
in the Municipality of Bluewater; Rotary Cove Beach on Lake Huron in the Town
of Goderich; Northwinds Beach Park and Little River Beach Park on Georgian Bay
in the Town of the Blue Mountains.
    "We are extremely excited with the announcement," said Bill Dowson, Mayor
of the Municipality of Bluewater. "Bayfield Marina is a key component of our
tourism economy and this Blue Flag designation will help make Bayfield an even
more desirable destination."
    More than 3,200 marinas and beaches are certified under the Blue Flag
program in 37 countries, including throughout Europe and in the Caribbean.
Blue Flags have been awarded in Canada since 2003.
    Marinas and beaches that want to receive a Blue Flag must apply each
season. Independent juries of experts in Canada and internationally study 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.
    "The designation of Grand Bend Beach and our two marinas as Blue Flag
approved is fantastic news! Our goal of becoming a leading tourist destination
in Ontario has made a major step forward, and we are honoured to be a part of
the Blue Flag community," said Gord Minielly, Mayor of the Municipality of
Lambton Shores.
    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





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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