Tbnewswatch Local News
Friday July 3 2015
6:41 AM EDT
2014-06-29 at 17:12

Permanent advisory

By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY – The Friends of Chippewa Park say the decision to place the main beach under a permanent swim advisory is a “huge disappointment.”

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit on Friday announced the primary Chippewa Park beach would carry the advisory, because “historical water quality testing results have constantly exceeded acceptable E. coli bacterial levels.”

Swimming in water with high E. coli levels can result in skin, eye, nose and throat infections as well as gastrointestinal illness, the health unit added.

However, an executive member with the community organization disagrees with placing the label on the picturesque beach.

Pat Carli, treasurer of the Friends of Chippewa Park, said the group has been working to address the main issues the health unit has identified as causing water quality problems.

She said steps have been taken over the past number of years to address runoff into the water and the size of the geese population. Measures include dredging the area, installing storm sewers and changing the configuration of the beach.

They feel like they were finally making progress this year, which makes the move “surprising.”

“We might have partially solved the problem this year,” Carli said on Sunday. “We have placed in the bay what are called reflective flashing devices and they discourage the geese from landing. We have also introduced a falcon…which creates an atmosphere that discourages the geese and they’re not comfortable.”

She said one board member lives in close proximity to the park and had not seen any geese near the beach in “six weeks.”

There were no geese visible along the beach or water during the mid-afternoon on Sunday.

Carli expects Mother Nature is also lending a helping hand.

The abundance of snow this past winter has resulted in higher water levels which should result in cooler water temperatures, making a less hospitable environment for the bacteria.

Carli said Coun. Iain Angus, the organization’s secretary, has sent a letter to Dr. David Williams, the health unit’s Medical Officer of Health, urging for continued weekly monitoring of the water.

“We feel we have been somewhat successful and therefore we need the health unit to continue, and we are urging them to do so, to continue with the weekly testing to either prove or disprove our theory,” she said.

While the advisory does not close the beach or prevent people from swimming, it is a serious blow for the organization as they try to turn the park into a prime summertime destination.

Every Sunday from mid-June until the end of August they are hosting a Sundays in the Park concert series, with the Roy Coran band performing this week.

They are determined to move forward, even if the beach can’t be a drawing point.

“The purpose is to draw people out and see what a beautiful wilderness park this really is,” Carli said.

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djs says:
It seems that the powers that be have only a vision that involves buildings and manmade structures. They keep hoping that if they don't do anything about places like Chippewa, Boulevard Lake, Dease Pool, the Conservatory, the Fort William Gardens, etc., they will eventually be able to say that they are beyond repair and just let them rot away. Instead, they will pour money by the millions into a tiny area around the Marina...I wonder what could be done with Chippewa and Boulevard Lake, for example, if someone would pour an unlimited amount of money in their directions. These could be wonderful areas to take our children if someone with REAL leadership skills takes control of this community's spending and starts to fix what we have before building anything else that we can't afford....
7/2/2014 8:00:42 PM
ring of fire dude says:
I'm beginning to wonder where the sewer pipe for the wildlife exhibit empties into the lake , is it in the bay or into Lake Superior itself ??
6/30/2014 10:38:49 AM
Bienriff says:
It seems like ever since the changed the flow of water by back filling between the park and the mill Chippewa Swiming area has become contaminated. I think the water flow does not move in and out by the Break wall. Man can not do what mother nature used to. You need water flowing in and out of that area. So sad I used bike out there and swim a whole lot when we were younger!
6/30/2014 10:34:44 AM
Tannoy says:
Yeah that's too bad the public is being warned about potential health risks...
6/30/2014 9:11:51 AM
kethry says:
If you read the article the request is not to stop warning people but to continue testing weekly and posting warnings when warranted instead of permanently posting it as unsafe. They are testing just down the road at Sandy beach, why not both? How will anyone know if the improvements are helping if it isn't tested?
7/3/2014 1:37:06 PM
rootbear says:
Although I don't swim there it is sad anyway. We have so much beauty here in Thunder Bay that others don't. We seem to neglect the obvious at times. Many times.....
6/30/2014 7:54:04 AM
livewire says:
Biggest Joke of all times. Solution is very simple just install a half dozen giant culverts at break-wall to allow fresh water to circulate into bay. It's not Rocket science.
6/30/2014 7:41:08 AM
wetotter says:
Why not test it again ? Such a shame to see it closed due to "Past History" samples.
6/30/2014 6:23:28 AM
rocketship says:
What a beautiful park Chippewa is!!! The grounds are extremely clean and green....and the view is awesome!!!
I very much enjoy the Sunday afternoon music, and Moonlight Melodrama during July.
6/30/2014 5:42:52 AM
Tada2010 says:
If they think that the only reason that there is high levels of E.Coli in the water is because of the geese then they should really speak with the Health Unit & let them explain it.

"However, an executive member with the community organization disagrees with placing the label on the picturesque beach." So does that mean that the Health Unit should not be placing the warning? I wouldn't swim in it, even if the payed me to. And what does a band coming to the park have anything to do with the beach being open?
6/30/2014 12:48:09 AM
SBJforever says:
This park is a landlocked piece of property owned by TBay but not connected to the city highly underutilized and probably very costly to run a new plan is needed and not just a preservation of the old but a rebuild of something newer and modetn a devolopment for an escape from the norm which would require huge investment by outside developers much like the vision of the water front and the event center. The FOC have had a positive impact at what they have down in the last decade and more of cleaning up the park but there seems little support for contiuing down this dead end when water safety issues constantly come to the for front every year. Lets move on and put this park in the stable with Municipal golf course and be done with it
6/30/2014 12:42:25 AM
Commonsense says:
Continued monitoring seems a wise idea, then it can be determined if the measures taken have been effective. Sitting on a picnic table near the main beach last summer, I heard a little girl tell another friend about the ill effects she suffered from the water, in her case, swimmers itch, and it was sad to see her joy of water play spoiled.
Should we chance that happening on an ongoing basis?

Chippewa is a lovely, but under-utilized park , with many recreation opportunities.
There's space for baseball, games, great playground, and shady picnic spots.
This might be a good spot for a splash pad, and solve this problem.
The wooden former boat dock is falling into disrepair, like so many things around the city.
Perhaps it's nearing it's end, and the small bay could be opened up, although
I would like to see the dock repaired, as it is an enjoyable walk out there, summer or winter.
So, does a splash pad there seem reasonable to others?
6/29/2014 10:52:55 PM
bay of blunders says:
Is there not some type of technology that uses a floating device that is anchored but can move around which kills bacteria and other things using ultraviolet light? could even use a floating solar panel with it to use sunlight to power it? Just throwing ideas out there.
6/29/2014 5:57:53 PM
joey joe joe jr. shabadoo says:
The old rocket ship slide & the bumper cars, let alone the rollercoaster were big draws @ Chippewa Park back in the day...swimming was never on the agenda anyways when you thought of Chippewa...

Bring back some great amusement rides etc if you want people to show up.
6/29/2014 5:32:09 PM
enos012 says:
Fixing the bridge would help....
6/30/2014 8:38:40 PM
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