Sat. May 21st, 2022

The city of Ottawa will empty all 53 of its wading pools for the summer on Tuesday afternoon despite a last-minute attempt to keep the season afloat until the current heat wave subsides.

The pools were always supposed to close on August 24, but River Ward Coun. Riley Brockington wrote to city staff on Monday, asking if there was a way at least a few of them, especially in what the councilor called a high-risk community, could stay open until the end of the week or at least until the hot, humid weather provides space for cooler temperatures.

Ottawa has been under a heat warning since Aug. 19, with daytime hours averaging low in the low 30s and humidex often reaching 40.

But according to Dan Chenier, general manager of recreation, culture and facilities, too few of the lifeguards on staff, most of whom are students, were willing to stay on until the end of the week.

Parkdale Wadden Pool was open for its final day on August 24th. (Giacomo Panico / CBC)

Parents disappointed

For parents watching their children enjoy one last dip in the city’s wading pools on Tuesday, news of the impending closure brought disappointment.

“We just found out today that the pool will close tomorrow,” said Victoria Chanie-Palmer, who brought her toddler and her little son to the pool at the St-Laurent complex.

“It’s so sad because we’ve enjoyed it all summer. It’s been really good for us, especially in this hot weather, and it’s the perfect place for the kids. I really hoped it would stay open until the end of the school holidays. , because that’s what we need. “

Victoria Chanie-Palmer plays with her daughter Zizi, 1, in the St-Laurent Complex wading pool. (Giacomo Panico / CBC)

The gap between the closure of wading pools and the start of school is also a concern for Liz Eidsness, who brought her two children to the Parkdale wading pool on Tuesday.

“I think it’s a shame,” Eidsness said. “I think they should keep pools open until school starts. Many events, camps and things close down, and what should the kids do?”

Both Chanie-Palmer and Eidsness said they appreciate the city’s staff and budget problems, but they wondered if there was no way to meet the needs of residents who depend on wading pools, especially during a heat wave.

“I respect that necessity,” Eidsness said. “But a lot of city services run year-round, and this one isn’t open very long, so why not?”

Parent Liz Eidsness wants the city to find a way to ensure wading pools remain open until the start of the school year. (Giacomo Panico / CBC)

Meanwhile, lifeguard monitoring and daily water testing at the city’s beaches will end on August 29.

Splash pads are scheduled to remain open until Sept. 15, while the city’s nine deep-water outdoor pools will be closed between now and Sept. 6, depending on their location.

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