In the interest of public safety, municipal officials have closed a ramp into the water at the main park in Mitchell’s Bay.
Jeff Bray, manager of parks and open spaces for the municipality, said the southern of the two ramps in Dover Beach Park is closed due to warm, high water.
He said the conditions have led to a great deal of algae growth, which has created a slippery situation on the ramp.
“There was a recent fall there. Because of the heat and high water, algae on the ramps is causing it to be more slippery,” he said. “It’s for public safety.”
Beachgoer Robbi-Lynn Clark reported on social media that her family went to Mitchell’s Bay to celebrate her daughter’s fourth birthday recently. As her mother went to help her child as she walked down the ramp, the mother slipped, hit her head, and suffered a concussion.
“Today was a beautiful day for the beach; I would hate for this to happen to anyone else,” Clark wrote on social media July 30. “It was my daughter’s fourth birthday today and we haven’t been to Mitchell’s Bay in forever so we decided it would be a fantastic birthday gift to go to the beach, because going there as a kid was a blast. My daughter and mother decided to go down the ramp, because it was the safest, or we thought. My mother went down and slipped and cracked her head. She now is in Wallaceburg hospital. She was unconscious and has a big concussion. We ask that everyone please be cautious and be careful.”
She added two days later that her mother is on the road to recovery.
Meanwhile, Bray said municipal staff are examining options.
“We are looking at ways of making it safer. We tried the Mobi-Mat, which is designed for people with mobility challenges to go on areas that don’t have the stability. It’s a tactile surface and it’s working well out there,” he said.
The municipality has a Mobi-Mat in Erieau where it allows those with mobility issues to go out far onto the beach near the water.
In Mitchell’s Bay, the Mobi-Mat is in use on the north ramp at the beach into the water.
As for the other ramp, Bray said it’s closed until further notice, and when that changes will be up to Mother Nature.
“We’re hoping for receding water levels so we can help clear the algae, or the water cools down,” he said.