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LETTER: Re-expand hours for city's wading pools

'As we see more and more heat waves, cutting pool time is a cruel solution,' the letter writer says
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GuelphToday received the following letter from Anne Gajerski-Cauley regarding wading pool hours of operation.

While the city has expanded yard waste pickup, it has recently significantly cut the remaining wading pools at Sunny Acres and Exhibition Park by three and a half hours a day, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., closing access at the hottest time of the day in a neighbourhood where there are old homes with radiators (unable to have central air conditioning). For many years the pools remained open until through the dinner hour, allowing parents to take their kids to the pool after work.

Pool attendants have informed parents that they can go to city hall after the wading pools close. My autistic son is too frightened to climb down the hill at the basilica to make it there. For other autistic kids who cannot tolerate the noise levels at city hall, this is not an option. There are a lot of autistic kids in Guelph and clearly, staff did not consider their needs in this decision to drastically cut the hours at Exhibition Park and Sunny Acres.

This is an accessibility issue and the city is trying to save money on the backs of young kids.

When I asked a city councillor whether there was a line item regarding the wading pools when council voted on the budget that significantly slashed funding for the pools, I was informed they did not recall such a line item.

City staff have been sending out a form letter to concerned citizens regarding this matter claiming it is for environmental reasons – how dare the vity waste water for something as frivolous as cooling off young kids in the hot summer heat! These pools service citizens all across the city. Parents prefer a full wading pool to a sprinkler system the City wants to convert the pools to.

As we see more and more heat waves, cutting pool time is a cruel solution. In the most recent heat wave, the City of Toronto extended pool times to 11:30 p.m.! The city has also made the claim "no staff" when staff I have spoken to would welcome more work hours.

I would urge the city for the remainder of the summer (they close Labour Day weekend) to utilize discretionary funds to restore the pools to their historical hours. I wonder, if councillors actually knew they were cutting in half the hours parents and children would have access to the wading pools, if they would have voted for this action to be taken. If you are concerned about this slashing of funds, I would encourage you to email or call your city councillors regarding this.

Anne Gajerski-Cauley