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E. coli, sharp objects and slippery surfaces among Accidental Beach risks: city

Rules and warnings for Accidental Beach
WATCH: Accidental Beach is back in the Edmonton River Valley. It's open to visitors but open season comes with a set of rules and warnings from both the city and AHS. Kent Morrison explains.

Now that Accidental Beach has re-emerged the City of Edmonton and Alberta Health Services are warning about the potential risks of using the site.

The city and AHS said the potential risks include the beach not having a lifeguard or lifesaving equipment, and the water quality not being tested.

All water activities in the North Saskatchewan River are discouraged because of the unpredictable water flow, sharp objects or debris, uneven or slippery surfaces along the riverbed and quickly changing water quality.

READ MORE: New rules for Accidental Beach now in effect

AHS also warns about wildlife and natural environment factors such as bird and animal droppings and E. coli bacteria in the water.

“Because of this, anyone who swims in the river could get sick. Exposure to E. coli can cause cramping, vomiting and diarrhea,” a news release read.

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Those who go in the water are advised to wash their hands, rinse their body and avoid swallowing river water.

The city and AHS said while they don’t want anyone using Accidental Beach, they understand people will be visiting the site, which is why they issued the advisory.

READ MORE: City prepares for Accidental Beach by implementing parking, garbage, enforcement changes

After emerging last year, Accidental Beach created issues for the Cloverdale community, so this year, city officials implemented set hours for the sandbar, installing portable toilets, bike racks and more garbage cans.

“We are increasing our frequency of garbage pickup this year,” Rhonda Norman, the city’s director of river valley trails, said. “We noticed there were some issues last year with overflowing garbages so that frequency will increase and we’ll continue to monitor it.”

The city said the neighbourhood will restrict public parking through a pilot project.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Accidental Beach making a comeback

The city also hopes to address the community’s concerns through a wider public education Good Neighbour Campaign.

“Last year we saw some really inappropriate behaviour and it really had an impact on the Cloverdale community so we are reminding people: if you are visiting the beach, to please pick up after yourself,” Norman said.

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“Dogs are required to be on leash, there is no fires permitted, no alcohol, no loud music and we are implementing park hours for this year.”

Accidental Beach is open to the public between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. Anyone there after 11 p.m. will be asked to leave.