News / Halifax

Lake Banook is so, so dirty: Dartmouth councillor wants to know why

Birch Cove Beach on Lake Banook in Dartmouth was closed for 33 days due to high bacteria levels this summer – half the season.

Birch Cove Beach on Lake Banook in Dartmouth was closed for more than half the summer due to high bacteria levels in the water.

Handout / HRM

Birch Cove Beach on Lake Banook in Dartmouth was closed for more than half the summer due to high bacteria levels in the water.

The councillor for Dartmouth wants to know why Lake Banook is so dirty.

Birch Cove Beach on the lake was closed for 33 days due to high bacteria levels this summer – half the season – and it tied for second most in Metro’s analysis of beach closures in Halifax Regional Municipality this year.

And that number has been climbing from just five days closed in 2012 to 17 in 2015 to 33 this year.

Coun. Sam Austin will ask for staff report at Tuesday’s meeting of Halifax regional council to request a recommendation on a “pollution control study” for Lake Banook and Lake Micmac next to it.

“Lake Banook, it’s the busiest rec lake in the city, in terms of it’s got swimming, it’s got canoe clubs, it’s got dragonboats,” Austin said in an interview.

“It is so interwoven into the life of Dartmouth and HRM as a whole, to imagine a future where perhaps you can’t swim in it at all in the summer, that’s just not on for me. So we need to figure out what the cause of the bacteria is and what we can do about it.”

In an interview with Metro last month, HRM environmental performance officer Cameron Deacoff said there could be any number of reasons for high bacteria at Birch Cove Beach – from rainwater washing down from the Mic Mac Mall parking lot, to weeds in the lake, to pet waste.

Austin wants a study to narrow that down so the municipality can figure out a way to deal with it.

“If it’s human-related, then that’s in some ways an easier one,” he said.

“If it’s kind of natural from ducks or soil, then that’s a lot harder to deal with.”

Austin said he hopes he gets the support of council on the report.

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