Special zones needed for Station Beach to retain Blue Flag status
By Liz Dadson
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Two special designated zones are required for Station Beach in Kincardine to retain its Blue Flag status.
Recreation director Karen Kieffer outlined these to Kincardine council in committee-of-the-whole April 16.
She said that Station Beach has been a Blue Flag Beach since 2006. However, to fulfill the current requirements for Blue Flag status, staff is recommending that council approve two specific designated zones: a "No Watercraft Zone" for swimming only; and a "No Wake Zone" which would not allow boats and sea-doos.
Kieffer said a stewardship group was created to meet and discuss issues at Station Beach. This group consists of representatives from the water sports committee, environmental enthusiasts, avid beach-users, and Blue Flag supporters.
Blue Flag beaches must meet 32 criteria, including:
Kieffer said that a "No Watercraft Zone" would be created 300-400 metres south of the south pier, 100 metres west of the shore. Two buoys would be cemented in the water, designating the swimming area, with two small signs placed on shore at the corners of the zone to outline the boundaries and designate the area.
It should be noted that swimming can still occur along the shoreline of Station Beach, said Kieffer. A "No Watercraft Zone" is recommended to designate a swimming-only zone to comply with the Blue Flag criteria, and swimmers in this area can be assured that no watercraft will enter this area.
As for the "No Wake Zone," a large sign would be placed at the end of the south pier, advising watercraft users of this designated area. This is an attempt to deter boats, sea-doos, etc. from coming too close to shore at a fast speed. The area runs from the end of the pier to shore, to keep beach-users safe near the shore.
Cost to be a Blue Flag beach is $1,000 and the associated costs of signage and buoys is about $3,500, with the funds to come from the parks operating budget.
"Our number one concern is safety," said Kieffer, adding that the Kincardine Yacht Club has offered to place the buoys in the water in the spring and take them out in the fall, free of charge.
Councillor Maureen Couture asked about enforcement of these designated zones.
Kieffer said members of the stewardship committee will be involved. Plus, there is peer policing, and if there are problems, people can call the recreation department.
Committee-of-the-whole agreed with the proposed designated zones for Blue Flag status.The item comes before council for final approval May 7.
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Saturday, May 03, 2014