TORONTO, June 5, 2012 /CNW/ - This summer, 17 beaches and four marinas will fly the Blue Flag in Canada. Blue Flag is an international eco-label awarded to beaches and marinas that meet high environmental standards.
And as the program marks its 25th year, Canada sees the first certified beaches and marinas outside Ontario. Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia are receiving Blue Flags for the first time. B.C. is next in line, with Harrison Hot Springs Beach in the pilot phase of the program.
To be awarded a Blue Flag, beaches and marinas must meet four sets of criteria: water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety and services. If a beach has a Blue Flag, people can be assured that it is clean, sustainably managed and great for swimming.
Worldwide there are 3,098 Blue Flag beaches and 646 marinas in 46 countries. Blue Flags have been awarded in Canada since 2005. Internationally, the program is managed by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), based in Denmark. Environmental Defence is the national operator of Blue Flag in Canada.
"More and more communities want Blue Flag recognition," said Brett Tryon, Blue Flag Coordinator for Environmental Defence. "They know it encourages environmental stewardship and engages people with the waterfront. Beach operators and volunteers have worked hard to earn this award and we are proud to see the Blue Flag community continue to grow."
Beaches and marinas flying Blue Flags for the first time this summer are:
- West Grand Beach on Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba
- Plage de l'Est, Plage de l'Ouest and Plage des Cantons on Lake Memphremagog in Quebec
- Halifax Waterfront in Nova Scotia (marina)
They join 14 beaches and 3 marinas in Ontario that have been re-awarded Blue Flags:
- Port Stanley Main Beach on Lake Erie in the Municipality of Central Elgin
- Grand Bend Beach, Grand Bend Marina and Port Franks Marina on Lake Huron in the Municipality of Lambton Shores
- Bayfield Main Beach and Bluewater Marina 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
- Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, on Georgian Bay
- Toronto has a whopping eight Blue Flag beaches: Bluffer's Park Beach, Centre Island Beach, Cherry Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach, Hanlan's Point Beach, Kew-Balmy Beach, Ward's Island beach and Woodbine Beach.
"Grand Bend has always been known for its world renowned sunsets," said Mayor Bill Weber of the Municipality of Lambton Shores, Ontario, "but now, the Blue Flag designation lets the world know that our beach and marinas meet the highest standard for water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety. Meeting these high standards is the result of community and staff support, and we feel it is a very important factor in attracting tourists to our area."
Several beaches are participating as candidates, including Canatara Park Beach in Sarnia, Ontario, Birch Cove Beach in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Harrison Hot Springs Beach in BC. These beaches could get a Blue Flag as early as 2013.
More details about the Blue Flag program and the certified marinas and beaches can be found on the web site at www.BlueFlag.ca.
About Environmental Defence (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is the Canadian Operator of the Blue Flag Program. Environmental Defence is Canada's most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all. www.environmentaldefence.ca
About The Foundation for Environmental Education (www.fee-international.org): The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization consisting of member organizations representing 63 countries worldwide. FEE actively promotes and delivers education about the environment and sustainable development through international programs such as the Blue Flag Program.
For further information:
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 232; 647-280-9521 (cell)