Some of you may have already visited Verdun Beach to cool off during one of our many heatwaves this summer. But you might've also been disappointed to discover that you couldn't go swimming. In fact, many say that the beach has been more closed than open this summer!
The beach officially opened in June and has already experienced a rash of problems related to water quality. Heavy rains and various pollutants caused horrible conditions in June and early July. The city is currently investigating how these conditions can affect the population.
Since people have only been able to properly use the beach a handful of times this summer, I spoke with the Borough of Verdun and asked them about the water quality and the many closures of the beach to get to the bottom of this persistent issue that plagues it.
"Though the beach has been closed for swimming many times during the summer, people can still visit the site and take advantage of its many activities despite that," said Verdun borough councillors. "There's a protocol we must follow to guarantee the safety of bathers."
According to CBC News, Verdun beachgoers want more transparency regarding water conditions. Many families have been turned away when entering the area and would like the borough to put up signs.
Currently, Verdun sends out alerts over social media and has a hotline that potential visitors can contact ahead of their trip. Still, the public would like more details about what's actually the problem with the water.
The Borough of Verdun assured MTL Blog that when the beach is closed, the water is evaluated in collaboration with Service de l'eau de la Ville de Montréal and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change of Montreal.
"Because it's our first year of operation, we're being extra careful with the safety and security of bathers," said borough representatives, "we're aware that extreme weather conditions have forced the closure of the beach for many days in a row, especially at the end of June".
Lifeguards test the water at the beach on a daily basis and send their reports to the city every single day. Keep in mind, that it is the Fleuve and you can never be too careful.
To this day, the Saint-Lawrence River is a major shipping route and pollutants often make their way into the system. Heavy rains also cause sewer drains to overflow into the immediate area. Therefore, a prudent approach is the best way forward according to Verdun borough councillors.
"We've had fortunate weather on our side since the beginning of July, though," said the Borough of Verdun "we've had 11 uninterrupted days of clean water conditions."
If you're planning on visiting Verdun Beach anytime soon, it's recommended that you call ahead if you're planning on swimming.