(Willows Beach / James Hutcheson)

Once again, swimmers of Victoria may need to keep their distance from Willows Beach.

Island Health recently conducted a routine water test at Willows Beach and determined that the water remains unfit to swim in for people and pets alike. 

On Tuesday, September 5th, the District of Oak Bay issued the following warning to its residents:

“Recent water tests have indicated high levels of bacteria in the water at Willows Beach, which may pose a risk to health,” read the  advisory.

“The area is unsafe for swimming and other water contact activities until further notice. Signs will be posted at the beach to notify visitors.”

Beach sampling is conducted routinely through the summer when certain beaches pose a risk of having blue-green algae blooms and high levels of contaminated water. 

In the most recent sampling, which was done last week, high levels of Enterococci were detected. This bacteria can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs), bacteremia, Infective endocarditis (IE), meningitis, intra-abdominal infections and wound infections.

Willows Beach is now the fourth beach in the southern regions of Vancouver Island which Island Health has issued an advisory for. 

The other beaches swimmers are advised to stay away from are Cadboro Bay (Gyro Beach)in Saanich, Art Mann Park in Duncan, and Glen View Park at Glen Lake in Langford.

In addition to these four beaches, the Capital Regional District (CRD) has advised residents that Prior Lake in Thetis Lake Regional Park contains a blue-green algae bloom that can be harmful to animals and people who swim in the water. 

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