Kitsilano Beach (Wikimedia Commons)

Kitsilano Beach (Wikimedia Commons)

High E. coli levels prompt warnings at several beaches around Metro Vancouver

Whytecliff, Ambleside and Sandy Cove beaches in West Vancouver some off limits due to high levels

Several beaches around Metro Vancouver have been closed to swimming because of high levels of bacteria and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority says a recent hot spell that has stalled over much of British Columbia could be one reason for the problem.

The health authority says in a news release that swimming, wading and scuba diving are not recommended at Whytecliff, Ambleside and Sandy Cove beaches in West Vancouver.

That’s in addition to closures announced earlier for several popular areas in Vancouver, including Sunset and Kitsilano beaches, Kits Point and Trout Lake.

High levels of E. coli bacteria have been identified at all the locations, increasing the risk of gastro-intestinal illness for swimmers, waders, kayakers or anyone who comes in contact with the water.

A reason for the spike isn’t known, but the health authority says possible causes include sewage discharge from land or boats, increased numbers of humans, animals or waterfowl on the beach, or hot weather speeding up the growth of fecal bacteria in the water.

Beach closures are not usual during the summer around Metro Vancouver and the news release says the situation is being monitored and the advisories will be lifted as soon as E. coli levels drop.

The Canadian Press

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