The Balmy Beach Canoe Club

May 10, 2002

Dear Member/Parent/Guardian:

You may have read recently in the media reports of the water quality in Ashbridges Bay being below acceptable standards. Our first reaction was concern for the safety of our paddlers and we were immediately in touch with the City by telephone for clarification. A meeting was held with representatives from the Public Health, Water and Waste, and Communications Departments. The meeting was a long and thorough one with the City being most helpful. We described our concerns and explained our programs in detail. We asked if our paddlers were at risk and whether our programs could continue. Water quality was discussed and the reasons for the problem.

The City agreed to provide an Information Bulletin for our membership and it is attached. Please read it carefully. We think it will help you to understand the issue. As a point of clarification, when we asked the City what they meant by “young children”, they replied as follows:  “Although there is no specific definition of which age groups among children are at highest risk from exposure to bacteria-contaminated water, it can be said that children under 5 are at greatest risk….”.

The following has been recommended:

We are asking all parents and guardians to review these practices with their paddlers and stress their importance to ensure that those who elect to paddle understand and follow the guidelines. While they do seem to be prudent minimum safeguards, there is a continuing residual risk from exposure to the water used by Club paddlers. Club policy requires paddlers aged 13 and under to wear either a life jacket or life belt at all times as they are the tippier paddlers. For anyone over the age of 14, a life jacket or life belt is optional (except when cold water condition regulations are in effect). Life jackets and life belts are available for everyone’s use. If you wish your child/ward over 14 years to wear a life jacket or life belt at all times, let us know. However, it is your obligation to give him/her that directive. From a practical perspective, the Club is simply unable to enforce your preference. We can only pass on a reminder.

In closing, if you/your child/your ward elect to participate in our paddling programs, we require that the enclosed Acknowledgement and Release Form be signed as part of the registration package. If you have already registered, please return it to your and/or your paddler’s coach.

We thank you for your cooperation and support. If you have any questions, feel free to contact either of us. If we do not have the answers, we will attempt to obtain them.

Here’s to a great 97th Paddling Season.  Go Beach Go!

Rick Arends
Phyllis Bain
Co-Commodores, 2001-2002