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Vancouver Island marina to reopen but beach still barred due to contamination

UCLUELET, B.C. - A popular marina and boat launch on Vancouver Island will reopen next week — temporarily — after being closed more than a year ago because of toxic contamination.

However the beach and campground at Toquaht Bay, near Ucluelet, will remain closed after tests showed arsenic, cobalt and selenium above acceptable levels.

The provincial Natural Resources Ministry says soil tests also revealed high concentrations of iron that could also pose a risk to human health.

The contamination is believed to come from the long-closed Brynnor iron-ore mine whose tailings were deposited on the water's edge to form the sandy beach of the bay.

The ministry says the boat launch and marina will likely close again in a couple of years when the province undertakes remediation for the whole area.

The busy marina and campground were popular for kayakers heading to the Broken Group Islands off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

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I'm surprised to hear that iron is dangerous to human health. Since there wouldn't have been a beach if not for the mine tailings it was built out of, I have mixed feelings about this. But it should eventually be possible to bury the contaminated material under cement and put another beach on top, I suppose. I have no mixed feelings about the E. coli contamination closing other beaches, though; there should be zero tolerance for putting raw sewage where it can affect water used by people.

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