Holiday Beach Closed Due to Erosion Damage

Holiday Beach near Amherstburg has fallen victim to the record high water levels of Lake Erie.

On Wednesday, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit released its first round of summer beach testing results. Holiday Beach was the only beach listed as closed due to unsafe conditions, not because of bacteria in the water.

The Essex Region Conservation Authority's Watershed Manager, Tim Byrne says erosion is the reason and the damage could lead to injuries.

Byrne says, typically, water levels start to recede in June, but all indications are that won't be happening this year.

He says, what's usually a tourist attraction, could be off limits for the season.

"Historically, there was a very nice beach access out there to Lake Erie," says Byrne. "That's being significantly impacted on by the Great Lakes, loss of sand and loss of tree cover in the immediate area of the beach."

He told AM800's The Afternoon News that several trees have been pulled into the water.

"We're having to assess whether or not we have the capabilities to maintain access to a remnant beach or if it's more appropriate to keep people from accessing that area specifically and then just isolate other areas for public use in the park," says Byrne.

He calls the situation another casualty of this season's high water levels.

"That is going to be an evolving process. The city has had to close Lakeview Marina. Other municipalities have had to look at redirecting public access to some of their public properties. We're going to have to do the same type of thing and we've got to make sure that our clients and our guests are safe," says Byrne.

He adds that the authority is monitoring several other conservation areas around Essex County and more closures may happen over the summer, as safety is always the number one priority.

The latest beach condition reports can be found on the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's website.