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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Colchester Beach closed, due to elevated E. Coli levels

- Council closed the local beach a month ago, due to COVID-19 concerns -

by Sylene Argent

Colchester Beach, while open to the public, was closed for swimming and other in-water recreation activities, for the weekend, due to elevated levels of E. coli.

  This would have been the first weekend the beach would have been open for access to the water since its closure, due to COVID-19 concerns, a month ago. With Thursday’s test results, the beach was open, but the water was not, Alex Denonville, Manager of Strategic Communications for the Town of Essex, said.

  The Town is currently waiting on results of its next set of tests. Future water sample test results will be posted at

  Earlier this summer, the Windsor Essex County Health Unit noted it would not be conducting water testing, due to lack of resources because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the special Council meeting hosted on June 29, CAO Chris Nepszy said the Town had reached out to its contractors who maintain its water and sewage facilities, the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA), and learned this company can conduct water quality testing.

  Council moved to have OCWA test the water at Colchester Beach twice per week. This is costing the Town of Essex around $300 a week, which will total around $2500-$3000 by the end of the summer.

  Essex Council voted to close Colchester Beach during a special meeting held virtually on Monday, June 22. A Majority Council vote confirmed the decision until better guidelines, such as until bathrooms were open and proper signage was installed to protect the community from the spread of COVID-19 and address parking issues.

As part of the preparation to reopen, Essex Council adopted a bylaw to appoint the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires as a third-party Municipal Bylaw Enforcement Officers for the Town of Essex for the purposes of enforcing parking bylaws in municipal lots around Colchester Beach and provide security at the beach, as well. These decisions were made during a special meeting on July 13.

  The security personnel will work Fridays to Sundays, in addition to holidays. This will cost around $13,044; of which $8100 would go towards parking enforcement and $4900 for security on the beach.

  Further, the Parking Bylaw amendments were adopted to clarify and reflect the prohibited or restricted parking areas in Ward 3.

  A news release from the Town of Essex on the matter noted while Colchester Beach is now open to the public, all users must maintain physical distancing and limit group sizes according to public health recommendations.


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