GAME CALLED ON AC­COUNT OF . . . LAKE?

Vast pool of wa­ter at Ash­bridge’s Bay cov­ers nearly a third of vol­ley­ball courts,

Toronto Star - - GTA GREATER TORONTO AREA - HINA ALAM STAFF RE­PORTER

With nearly one-third of the courts un­der­wa­ter, beach vol­ley­ball of­fi­cials at Ash­bridge’s Bay are mon­i­tor­ing whether they need to make changes to their pro­gram, which starts the first week of May.

“We’re go­ing to do a site visit as well, get a look at the courts and go from there,” said Josh Ni­chol, in­terim beach man­ager of the On­tario Vol­ley­ball As­so­ci­a­tion.

The area where the vol­ley­ball courts sit to­day was once a bay and part of the lake, said Matthew Cut­ler, spokesper­son for Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation.

“This is the first time in half a cen­tury that this large a quan­tity of wa­ter has been seen on the beach,” Cut­ler said.

He didn’t know when the wa­ter would drain out.

“So it’s not that there’s never been wa­ter. But in the last few years that’s all been beach area and that beach has been steadily grow­ing.”

Cut­ler said the wa­ter on the beach now isn’t cre­ated by rain.

This is wa­ter that’s been thrown up from the lake dur­ing storm ac­tiv­ity to cre­ate a new in­ner lake that we have in the har­bour now, he said.

Coastal zones change and evolve nat­u­rally, Cut­ler said.

“It’s part of the re­al­ity — this is a nat­u­ral lake — and we can do some work to try and man­age it, but it is all very nat­u­ral,” he said.

He said the city’s main pri­or­ity is pro­tect­ing the Leuty Life­guard Sta­tion, which is a her­itage struc­ture, and the board­walk.

In the mid­dle of the newly cre­ated lake sat a pink and a green Muskoka chair.

Peter Psirlis, who was putting up a vol­ley­ball net Tues­day, said he comes to the beach every day, but this is the first time he can re­mem­ber see­ing this hap­pen.

He guessed it’s about a me­tre deep in the mid­dle of the body of wa­ter.

It’s stag­nant wa­ter that is a per­fect place for bul­rushes and grass, he said. “It could turn into a wet­land.” Kaia, a two-and-a-half year old Rhode­sian ridge­back, played fetch with her owner Roxanne Boutzis.

It was only a few weeks ago that Boutzis no­ticed the new lake ap­pear.

“It was a lot smaller — it’s hard to tell be­cause they took the fences away, but it’s ex­tended be­yond the fence,” Boutzis said, point­ing to or­ange snow fences that rested in wa­ter.

“It’s grown big­ger. I’ve never seen it like this be­fore, so it’s in­ter­est­ing.”

Mar­cus Kihn, who’s lived in the area for about eight years, said he saw some grass grow by the vol­ley­ball courts last year in the sum­mer.

He also found it in­ter­est­ing that the lake is dis­con­nected and fin­ger-like in some places.

“There were a few pud­dles in the last few years,” he said, look­ing around.

“Never seen it this deep and this wide­spread.”

AN­DREW FRAN­CIS WAL­LACE/TORONTO STAR

A woman walks near the beach vol­ley­ball area at Ash­bridge’s Bay, where some of the courts are now un­der­wa­ter.

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