Sauble officials lack expertise in beach management says reader

The Strategic “Plan” for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula states that “The protection and management of the Town`s unique natural heritage and environment is a key driver not only for growth and development, but for how natural heritage could be protected and preserved”.

On the Canada Day long weekend, record numbers of visitors were at Sauble Beach, with estimations being up to 150,000!

I was at the beach the week prior to and following that weekend. I saw (& picked up!) garbage that was left on the beach and in the water. I smelled the odor as I walked by the garbage cans. I was challenged to consider the human waste disposal that occurred in the water over the weekend. I spoke to individuals who indicated that the police closed areas to vehicular traffic due to safety concerns. Parking was an issue; traffic was backed up to Hepworth at one point and visitors were asking private landowners to use washroom facilities as the town “porta potties” were “too disgusting to use”. There were stories about digging holes in the sand (beneath a shelter) to bury bodily wastes.

Mayor Jackson indicated that “We are going to make a few little changes going forward just to handle the sheer numbers”. (OS Sun Times, July 3, 2018).

The Blue Flag, a world-renowned ecocertification, is awarded to beaches that demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship. Sauble lost that esteemed designation several years ago.

Management, protection and preservation are complex issues. The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Preservation and Bird Studies Canada have both offered their assistance to the Town of South Bruce Peninsula.

Elected officials need to get off their bulldozers, acknowledge their lack of expertise in this regard and utilize organizations who have proven their success in creating and managing healthy beach environments.

Donna Mitchell