Water advisory lifted at Oak Bay’s Willows Beach: district

Water advisory lifted at Oak Bay's Willows Beach: district
Photo credit: Nicholas Pescod

It’s business as usual at Willows Beach.

The District of Oak Bay has rescinded a swimming advisory at the beach about a week after urging people to stay out of the water due to high levels of bacteria.

The district updated the advisory on Thursday, Aug. 24, saying signage will be removed.

“The water advisory for Willows Beach has been rescinded due to recent satisfactory test results. Signage will be removed and the beach will continue to be monitored per routine testing schedules,” it said in a Facebook post.

The sandy public beach, located off Beach Drive, is adjacent to Willows Park. Tourism Victoria calls it one of the region’s “most popular swimming beaches,” especially on days like today, Saturday, with temperatures forecast at 25 C.

High enterococci bacteria count

The rescission follows Island Health’s advisory issued on Aug. 17 after environmental health officers tested the water at Willows Beach. At the time, bacterial results were “unsatisfactory,” the health authority said, with enterococci bacteria detected.

The district said this was a health risk.

The water sample had an enterococci count of 4,400, and Island Health says an advisory is recommended when a sample exceeds 175 enterococci. Health Canada says enterococci “are a bacteriological indicator of fecal contamination.”

On its website, Island Health says officers “work with local governments and agencies providing oversight of beaches to monitor water quality at popular public beaches.”

Elsewhere on Vancouver Island, beach advisories remain in effect at Ross Bay Beach in Victoria, Glen Lake in Langford and Art Mann Park in Duncan.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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