Provincial plan delays opening of Ottawa's splash pads

Splash pads won't be opening this week after all, says the city. Instead, they'll likely reopen around mid-June as per the province's timeline.

City had said Wednesday some splash pads would open by end of week

Four-year-old Mavis Ripley plays at a splash pad in Hintonburg Park in Ottawa on Thursday. Some city splash pads had already opened, but the city says they'll now be closed until mid-June to keep in step with the province's reopening timeline. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Splash pads in Ottawa won't be reopening this week after all, according to the city.

The news comes after the Ontario government released its reopening plans Thursday afternoon.

The provincial roadmap reopens golf courses, tennis courts and other outdoor amenities as early as this Saturday. However, it slates splash pads, outdoor pools and wading pools for reopening sometime around June 14.

On Wednesday during a virtual news conference, Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, said she sees splash pads as similar to playgrounds, which means they'd be exempt from the province-wide stay-at-home order.

Etches didn't provide a specific timeline for reopening, but said some residents were already reporting the water had been turned on at certain splash pads.

In an announcement Thursday, however, the City of Ottawa said none of its 127 pads would open this week, and that they would instead open as soon as it's allowed by the province — possibly on June 14. 

Mayor, councillors unimpressed

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson asked Premier Doug Ford in a tweet Thursday evening to reconsider his decision regarding splash pads.

"Please reconsider your decision to not allow splash pads to open at the same time as other outdoor activities like golf and basketball," Watson said. "It's going to be over 30 C this long weekend."

"Makes no sense," tweeted Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney, responding to the news.

"Nuts," said Kitchissippi Ward Coun. Jeff Leiper in a tweet.

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