Signs warning people of the dangers of swimming in the water at Whonnock Lake have been posted at the popular beach. (Dennis Windsor/Special to The News)

E. coli closes Maple Ridge swimming hole to public

Whonnock Lake beach and dock off limits because of high bacteria levels in water

Both the dock and beach are closed to the public at Whonnock Lake because the water is not safe to swim in.

“Water testing shows that the E. coli count exceeds the Fraser Health requirements, which could result in serious illness,” read a notice posted to the City of Maple Ridge website the afternoon of Friday, July 2.

The beach area and dock, it said, will be closed until further notice – when test results return to the safe ranges.

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Dennis Windsor was picking us his son from the Ridge Canoe and Kayak Club when he saw city workers planting the signs along the beach Friday afternoon.

There were still some people in the water, he said, but the workers were warning them about the closure.

Additionally signs were being put in the sand, right up against the shoreline, right up against the water.

At least five signs, if not more, said Windsor, as there were at least half a dozen more signs in the back of the truck.

“So they were making it well known,” he said.

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Fred Armstrong, spokesperson for the city, explained the test results were from samples taken at the lake earlier in the week.

“The water is tested weekly,” he noted, adding that it will be retested again on Monday to determine if the E. coli levels have dropped.

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“In the summer the combination of high temperatures, no rainfall and wildlife can result in high E. coli levels,” said Armstrong.

According to the Fraser Health Authority, high counts of E. coli in recreational water may increase the chances of gastrointestinal illnesses and skin and eye infections.

The picnic area and playground at Whonnock Lake Park will remain open for public use.

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