Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)


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Custodians:
Wading Pools

posted May 12, 2014

The strange story of Public Health and their citywide wading pool regulations

Soon it will be summer and the wading pools will open and close and re-open, close and reopen, every two or three hours. Since Toronto Public Health got much more involved with the wading pools a few years ago, these once well-used neighborhood play pools have become a lot less enjoyable for families.

Slide show

Click here: Rescue our wading pools!

Problems that need to be fixed:

1. Draining too often: wading pool staff are directed to tell children to stay out of the pool for up to 6 times a day, 20 minutes each time, to do a partial or complete drain of the pool and refill it with fresh, ice-cold water. Then the pool is re-chlorinated and the kids have to wait another 20 minutes for the chlorine to settle down. That can add up to a total of 40 minutes of no pool use each time or 4 hours a day, out of only 8 hours that the wading pools are open. Public Health staff say that children could be maimed or killed if they were allowed to stay in the wading pools when the water is draining. But that idea is based on a tragic case in the U.S,. that has no similarity to Toronto's fill-and-drain wading pools. Source: Research page

2. The danger of too much chlorine: There is concern among scientists that too much chlorine can bond with organic matter in the water (like skin cells, sunscreen, sand) to make some toxic compounds. Source: Research page. But wading pool staff are given inexact chlorine measurement tools - and no upper limit of how much chlorine is to much. At our wading pools, there is no upper limit.

3. Rule-bound staffing at wading pools has replaced the tradition of park-friendly wading pool staff who also provide pool-side activities for kids on cool days when the pool is not busy.

Inquiries about the evidence backing the frustrating new regulations have been ignored up to now. But as of May 1 2014, there is a revised Province of Ontario Public Health Standard, which now says that Public Health officials ...shall foster community and citizen engagement in the evaluation of programs and services. This ought to be an opportunity for park friends to make some constructive suggestions that will help the bureaucracy reconnect to the real world of happy and healthy splashing children.

Action Plan with good ideas for solutions.

Research Pages to find out more.


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Content last modified on May 05, 2015, at 08:21 AM EST