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Sep. 21, 2019 | Saturday
Local News
Beach closed sign 'almost invisible' and needs to be more prominent, Lord Mayor and visitors say
Malea Signh dips in the water at Queens Royal Beach Saturday - the family said they didn't see warning signs of unsafe water. (Brittany Carter/Niagara Now)

Queen’s Royal Beach has now been declared unsafe six times this season, but the sign displaying the warning is obscure and poorly placed, several families said on Saturday afternoon.

The sign is affixed to the side of a garbage bin near the Delater and King Street corner of the beach. For much of Saturday the sign showed the water was unsafe and not recommended for swimming. It later was changed to safe, once the latest water test results were released.

Many tourists who were watching their children play in the water this weekend said they never saw any warning signs as they walked to the beach from the opposite side of the park, where the parking lot and restrooms are located along Front Street.

Isabelle Richard from Boston said if she had seen the sign, she wouldn’t have allowed the children in the water, adding that if the beach is unsafe, the sign should be bigger and clearer, and in the middle of the park.

“It should be a bigger sign, not on the garbage bin. It should be in an open area where people can see it,” she said.

Lord Mayor Betty Disero agreed that the sign should be moved to a more prominent location on the beach.

“We’ve been discussing how we can make them more visible. I think (senior managers) Sheldon Randall and Kevin Turcotte will be looking at how that can happen. They are almost invisible where they are now and they should be more prominent,” she said.

An email response from Victoria Steele, community engagement co-ordinator for the town, said the town takes direction from the Niagara Region public health department, and if the region directs the town to move the sign, it will be moved.

The region tests samples and immediately posts the result on its website, sending the information to the appropriate department in town at the same time, said Anthony Habjan, manager of environmental health for the region.

“A notification gets flagged to the appropriate place, usually it’s parks and rec, that will then turn the sign from posted to open, or open to posted, whatever the case may be,” he said.

Habjan didn’t immediately respond to a message asking whether the region tells municipalities where to post the signs.

The beach has failed water quality tests six times this summer, totalling about 15 days, and Disero said she is not in favour of keeping the beach closed until water tests consistently show it is safe.

“We want to leave the beach open when it’s in fact possible to be open, so people can enjoy it. I wouldn’t say, ‘Close the beach for the summer,’ ” she said, adding that if the water tests come back safe, then people should be allowed to swim if they want.

The beach was posted this season on June 11, June 22, July 18, July 30, Aug. 9 and Aug. 15.

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