© File photo
Swimmers and sunbathers gather on a section of Pasadena Beach in this July 2013 file photo.
The Town of Pasadena is taking steps to further ensure its beach area is safe for all its users.
The town council met Monday evening, and the safety and cleanliness issues were discussed, Mayor Otto Goulding says.
Some residents and visitors to the town have expressed their concern about recreational boating in the area of Pasadena beach, which is frequented by swimmers. Speeding all-terrain vehicles and motorbikes near the beach and the neighbouring area of Lakeshore Drive has also been a worry.
The freshwater beach is a popular gathering place in the summer season, and has a restaurant and bar — The Oasis — located on it. The cleanliness of the surroundings has also been called into question.
Goulding previously stated safety is a priority for the town, and was aware of complaints. There were also reports of reckless driving of watercraft such as Sea-Doos, including one incident whereby a young woman had to be helped ashore by bystanders who noticed her in distress. She was one of four females enjoying themselves in the water as a two-seat Sea-Doo repeatedly circled them at high speeds. When the wind picked up, the foursome had some trouble swimming back to shore.
The mayor said the town received an official report of the incident from a witness, and will forward that to police. He said council and staff now plan to meet with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to see what avenues can be taken to further ensure a safe environment.
“Police have been in the area,” he said. “As you can appreciate, and I’m sure the public appreciates, to catch somebody on an ATV or watercraft is not an easy thing to do. It can become unsafe. If you start chasing, you can cause an accident.”
Goulding said the town is currently getting the materials it needs to put a designated swimming area in place. It is expected to soon be roped off in hopes of creating a safe zone for swimmers that is free of any watercraft.
The mayor said increased signage about boating and swimming safety, as well as more speed limit postings along the area of Lakeshore Drive, is expected to be a starting point.
With regard to the cleanliness of the beach, the mayor said it is generally a clean area. He said there is a partnership with the Pasadena Lions Club to assist with cleanup. However, as with many busy areas, it is nearly impossible to keep the beach clean at all times, according to Goulding.
Meanwhile, the mayor took exception to many of the points raised by Pasadena resident Terry LeDrew in a letter to the editor which appeared in The Western Star on Monday.
“The impression that was created was this is the state and condition of the beach all of the time,” he said, referring to uncleanliness of the beach. “That is not correct, and a bit mean-spirited to leave that impression.”
He said the letter was “over the top” on a lot of issues the town is dealing with. Many of the concerns are typical of what most municipalities deal with, according to the mayor.
“We take it serious, and we take a lot of pride in that beach,” he said. “By and large, I think most people would be very pleased with the product.”