The Capital Regional District is warning residents of a blue-green algae bloom at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park.
An alert about the toxic algae was first posted for the Eagle Beach area of the park on Oct. 16.
On Oct. 19, the CRD said the alert had been expanded to also include Hamsterly Beach on the north side of the lake.
“Blue-green algae can produce cyanotoxins,” said the CRD in its notice Thursday.
“Visitors are advised to avoid swimming at these beaches and to keep animals on a leash to prevent them from drinking or swimming in the lake until the advisory has been lifted.”
The CRD says blue-green algae usually produces a sheen on the surface of the water, which can look like “surface scum.”
Not all blooms can be seen easily, however, and the CRD warns that the algae can still be present in the water even if it’s not visible.
Ingesting blue-green algae can cause a range of symptoms in people, including headaches and abdominal pain, and can cause lethal liver damage to dogs.
The regional district says it will continue to monitor the lake, in consultation with Island Health.