07/13/2015 10:26 EDT | Updated 07/13/2016 05:59 EDT

Woodbine Beach sludge angers area residents

Woodbine Beach users took matters into their own hands this week, cleaning up a sludgy mix of seaweed and other debris at Lake Ontario's edge that they say the city failed to deal with.

Roy Dantas, who lives in the area and often brings his kids to the beach, was among those who joined the cleanup which was held after multiple calls to the city's 311 service didn't yield a response. Dantas said the waste is both a cosmetic and safety issue.

"You see refuse and garbage just lying on the side of the beach. You're afraid to step on things … you don't know if you're going to get hurt," he said.

Dantas said residents raked a section of the beach, but there's still work to do. Work, he said, the city should be handling.

"You have to put machinery and people and resources to it," he said.

City spokeswoman Karen Fulcher said the mess, which officials believe was caused by a recent storm surge, was brought to staff's concern late last week but because park staff prioritizes the cleanliness of washrooms and the dry beach and parkland area it wasn't dealt with until Monday.

"This weekend staff worked at cleaning after two major events at Woodbine and Woodbine Beach as well as after the approximately 20,000 visitors who enjoyed the waterfront during this past warm weekend," Fulcher said in an email statement to CBC News.

Once workers were free, "staff was directed to collect the seaweed at this problem area and will continue to monitor the situation and address as time permits," she said.

Fulcher said only about 200 metres or less of the east end beach is affected by the mess and that the natural area sometimes collects such debris.