NEWS

False Creek E. coli levels targeted in Vancouver Park Board campaign

06/09/2015 09:51 EDT | Updated 06/09/2016 05:59 EDT
The Vancouver Park Board voted on Monday night to put in place a "good neighbour" campaign for False Creek in an effort to avoid the dangerous spiking E. coli levels seen last year in the city waterway.

Vancouver Coastal Health has been erecting beach advisory signs in and around False Creek warning of the E.coli levels and intends to leave them up for the summer season, according to park board documents.

Now, the park board plans a social awareness campaign encouraging people to clean up dog waste, not dump chemicals in storm drains, and for boaters to use discharge pump-out stations to get rid of their on-board waste. 

- 2014 | Beach closures extended as E. coli counts increase

Park board commissioner Sarah Kirby-Yung says the campaign will be launched as soon as possible, before the busy boating season.

"People don't intend to contribute to it but sometimes they're just not aware and certainly we have other boaters come in from other areas that may not be aware of the regulations."

Park board wants to avoid a repeat of last year

Last August, E.coli counts rose so high in many parts of Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health closed five beaches.

In False Creek, which is seldom used by swimmers but popular with paddlers, the levels rose to 26 times higher than what is safe for swimming and five times the acceptable limit for kayakers.

Terry Parsons, a member of the False Creek Racing Canoe Club and a paddler for a dragon boat team, said last year several people got pink eye after water was splashed into their boats.

"People with health conditions should not be on the water at all. For a major in-city water way, it should be in better condition."

The park board plans to work with groups including the Georgia Strait Alliance on the awareness campaign.
 

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