Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category


The Guardian reports: Children should undergo swimming tests before being allowed to go swimming on school trips, a coroner has recommended, after a schoolboy drowned in a Canadian lake after being pushed into the water by a schoolfriend.

Abdul Jamal Ottun, 17, a house captain at Wallington County grammar school in Surrey, was on a two-week rugby tour after completing his AS levels in July 2015 when he died swimming in Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver island.

His mother, Lolade Ottun, 47, a maths teacher, said he was an “average swimmer” who had never swum in a lake before, and was not allowed to swim in the sea.

Around 25 boys were in and out of the water, and no one saw him struggling.

David Johnson, the director of sport, who was responsible for risk assessment of the lake on the day, said: “Prior to going on the trip parents had to sign a form. They had to circle an indication of their son’s swimming ability.” Johnson said he had been in the water, and the boys had been warned to be sensible. None of them went further than 10 metres from the jetty.

A health and safety expert, Peter Cornall, said there needed to be “fundamental changes” to the national curriculum regarding swimming safety.

Swim Safe!


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News from Canada – Officials say swimming the South Saskatchewan is dangerous, yet CBC News reports:  “The city of Saskatoon’s bylaw is quite clear: “no person shall swim in the South Saskatchewan River within the limits of the City of Saskatoon.”  But the river is right there, cool and convenient, and when the sun is high and hot, many people tend to ignore that bylaw and take the plunge.”

“Police have no plans for a big crackdown in illegal swimming in the city. However, they are monitoring the situation. Edwards said that from a policing perspective, swimming is perhaps less problematic than things like illegal parking, alcohol consumption and littering.” 

“A report to Saskatoon city council in 2012 recommended against creating a public beach within the city limits due to the danger of swimming and wading in it… During the summer of 2011, the report states that police were deployed a number of times to the sandbar along the river between Pembina Avenue and Ravine Drive. Officers observed between 500-750 people on the sandbar during hot days.”

“The report said that the high numbers of people going to the sandbar led to issues with parking and littering.” More…


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The Montreal Gazette Reports: The mayor of Montreal says his constituents will be able to plunge into the St. Lawrence River in the Old Port by the summer of 2017, just in time for the city’s 375th anniversary.

“Like other great North American cities, Montreal only recently became aware of the need to give residents more access to its shorelines,” Denis Coderre said on Friday. “We must step up efforts to correct earlier mistakes of turning our backs to the water.”

Wild Swimming Copenhagen

The creation of a “harbour bath” — similar to those in Sydney, Australia, and Copenhagen — is among a host of initiatives included in an ambitious municipal waterways plan, unveiled on Friday morning at city hall. In addition to the harbour bath installation — near the Old Port clock tower — which will be fed directly from the river, but cordoned off by barriers to prevent swimmers from being swept out, the city is planning to open a stretch of swimmable shoreline in Verdun within the next two years. An “Eastern Beach,” in Rivière-des-Prairies—Pointe-aux-Trembles, is also scheduled to open by summer 2017, and is set to include a chalet, a promenade and water sports facilities. Smaller-scale upgrades and program subsidies across the island in the coming years will help encourage paddling, diving, surfing and other water sports, Coderre said.

“Some of the projects are more advanced than others, but they are all moving forward.”

The upgrading of existing water-treatment infrastructure is also part of the waterways plan, Coderre added, and will help improve water quality to permit safe swimming and other recreational activities. The city is particularly concerned with the existing combined sewer pipes, which collect and transport a mixture of both sanitary waste water and storm run-off in a single stream. When the system gets overloaded, during a storm or spring melt for example, some waste water can end up in the river rather than at a treatment plant, a problem the mayor said will be corrected to the tune of $800,000.

Each of the beach projects is expected to cost several million dollars, but a total dollar amount for the entire series of waterway initiatives has yet to be determined.

Opposition Projet Montréal councillor Sylvain Ouellet called the plan “very good news.” He cautioned, however, that opening three swimming areas by 2017 might be overly ambitious.

But according to executive-committee member and R.D.P.-P.A.T. mayor Chantal Rouleau, it’s all a question of priorities. The harbour bath could be ready by next summer, she predicted, if things unfold smoothly.

“We are working enthusiastically with the Old Port of Montreal, and a pilot committee is already in place to help move this project along quickly and launch a first study to determine the concept and technical aspects.” More…

Could more be done in the UK to reintroduce swimmers to natural waters?

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