Toronto council directs staff to open outdoor fountains, bathrooms, pools earlier

Toronto’s City Council is seeking an adjustment in the scheduled opening of outdoor amenities like pools and fountains after receiving increased complaints that they aren’t meeting the public’s need.

The amenities usually open after summer officially arrives, but summer-like hot weather seems to begin earlier each year, and last longer.

This spring has seen several days in heat-wave territory, but many park dwellers have found water fountains and outdoor washrooms out of service. Typically, the city targets the end of June to turn on the taps.

Now city council is directing city staff to aim for the end of May to get fountains, washrooms, outdoor pools and splashpads up and running.

Read more: These are the 10 pools opening in Toronto on Saturday

Story continues below advertisement

The city’s head of communications Brad Ross said climate change is making the warmer seasons start sooner and end later. Residents want their access to outdoor amenities to reflect that, especially people living in condos and apartments, where the parks are their backyard.

Click to play video: 'REPORT: Heat wave and fires driven by climate change.' REPORT: Heat wave and fires driven by climate change.

REPORT: Heat wave and fires driven by climate change – Jul 13, 2021

“So we’re going to do everything we can to make sure those assets are available for the public as soon as practical,” said Ross. But he warned weather will continue to be an issue.

“Certainly in April, even in early May, we can see frost warnings,” he said, “so turning on a water asset too early, assets that are not winterized, can result in pipes being damaged and broken, which would then further delay opening.”

Read more: Extreme heat should be labelled a natural disaster, Canadian report urges

Story continues below advertisement

On social media, many people have been blasting the city on an on-going basis for the outdoor washrooms and fountains which remain out of service. A lack of signage gives the appearance those locations just haven’t been activated, but Ross said about five per cent of the city’s fountains are in need of repairs.

“If they are not on, then there is a reason why they are not on and that is they are in need of repair,” he said, adding the city needs to add more signage to keep the public informed.

As of this past Tuesday, the city’s functioning 142 seasonal washrooms and 700 water fountains were operational.

While staff are looking at an earlier start date, the activation will require more resources and funding, requiring city council to revisit the matter in next year’s budget process.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

View original article here Source