City wading pools set to close amid heatwave
The City of Ottawa says wading pools will close Aug. 24, with no plans for an extension, despite the ongoing heatwave. (Dave Charbonneau / CTV News Ottawa)
OTTAWA -- The City of Ottawa says its public wading pools will close for the season Tuesday, but at least one city councillor is asking for an extension due to the ongoing heat wave.
The city announced in a PSA that wading pools would close Aug. 24. The city also said lifeguard supervision and daily water testing at Mooney’s Bay, Britannia, Petrie Island and Westboro beaches will end for this season on Sunday. Outdoor, deep water pools will also be closing between now and Sept. 6.
Splash pads will remain open until Sept. 15.
Ottawa is in the grip of a summer heat wave, with temperatures in the low 30s and humidex values approaching 40. A heat warning has been in effect since Thursday.
River ward Coun. Riley Brockington tweeted late Monday night that he has asked for the wading pool season to be extended, given the heat wave. He says he will pay for the operation of any wading pools in his ward through his office budget.
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, the city's manager of recreation, cultural and facility services, Dan Chenier, said the wading pool season is pre-determined, is staffed by summer students, and there is no plan to extend it.
"The City’s wading pools operate on a seasonal schedule that is determined at the start of each season, with a typical closing date sometime in the last full week of August. Over 275 summer students are required to supervise the pools and are hired each year for a set period of time, the majority of which are usually not available to work beyond the established end date," Chenier wrote.
Chenier noted that splash pads will remain open.
"While there are no plans to extend the wading pool season, the City will be keeping the water taps open for the more than 140 splash pads that are currently operating until late September. As well, public swimming continues to be available at some of the City’s outdoor deep water pools and 13 indoor pools. The City has also opened three cooling centres across Ottawa to provide relief from the heat to residents in need," he said.
Chenier added that the city's wading pools operated for 60 days this summer, compared to 49 days in 2020 and 55 days in 2019.
Somerset ward Coun. Catherine McKenney told CTV News Ottawa the cap on the season limits the city's ability to be flexible.
"It’s really about two things. It’s about extending on both sides of the season, and also having the flexibility for unforeseen extreme heat," they said.
Susan Allen takes her grandchildren to the local wading pool often. She said she's hoping the city will change its mind during the heat wave.
"I’m just very thankful that the pools are open and the staff is here, especially during COVID times because the children have suffered the most. They’ve been out of school, a lot out of daycare, and this is a place where they can come and be with other children and see other children, and interact, even at a distance," she said. "We’re hoping that it will be extended for the children’s sake."
Natash Barrs says she and the kids visit the wading pool as often as three times a week.
"It kind of sucks," she said of the closure, "because there’s still a couple weeks left before kids go back to school. It’s hard, you know. There’s not a ton of places around here to take kids when it’s really hot. Where they have the splash pads, there’s no shade, whereas here there’s tons of shade. You can come and stay the whole day; there, it’s not possible. It gets way too hot."