In line with the Province’s stage two reopening, and the previously approved Kitchener Reopens framework, Kitchener City Council has endorsed a gradual, phased reopening of select city splash pads, pools, community centres and arenas. Several facilities will reopen to the public for limited use over the next few weeks.
The recommendation, presented to council, for the priority phasing of the reopening of select recreational amenities are at a tax subsidy of 1.5-4 times higher per participant compared to non-COVID service delivery. The priority phasing is based on criteria including ensuring that recreation opportunities are located across the city, in areas of community need, the level of complexity to re-open specific facilities, and the financial impacts of reopening, including additional staffing requirements to ensure the safety of patrons and the costs of retrofitting facilities to ensure the province’s prescribed safety measures have been met.
“We’ve now got a well-thought-out plan in place for re-opening some of our most-valued community amenities to the public over the next few weeks,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “I wish it were as simple as just unlocking the doors and turning on the lights at these facilities, but it just isn’t. As we continue to manage a growing deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was really important that we stopped to consider a careful plan for our re-openings – and the many factors involved, including cost and the safety of both residents and staff.”
“These amenities are a vital part of life in Kitchener and so this is great news for our residents,” added Councillor Kelly Galloway-Sealock, chair of the City’s Community and Infrastructure Services Committee. “How we use these amenities will be very different than before, so it will take time and patience for all of us to adjust. It won’t be business as usual. We’ll all need to work together to keep everyone safe.”
City splash pads are expected to reopen in 2 phases. A part of phase 1, McLennan Park, Centreville-Chicopee and Kingsdale including public washrooms near Wilson Pool are scheduled to reopen on June 26. Parents/guardians should expect a different experience visiting city splash pads during the pandemic. Due to provincial restrictions, physical distancing measures, fencing, timed entry which limits the number of patrons in the facility, will be in place. Victoria Park, Chandler Mowat and Breithaupt splash pads may be phased for reopening by mid-July. City staff will also be on site to ensure physical distancing requirements are being met.
Indoor and outdoor pools
Harry Class Pool and Idlewood Pool are both scheduled to reopen in early July. Harry Class will provide opportunities for family swims, lane swims, professional development and family lessons while Idlewood will reopen for family swims. In mid-July, the City will reopen its first indoor pool at Breithaupt Centre for lane swims, family swims, public swims, older adult swims and family lessons. Patrons of City pools should also expect a different experience as staff ensure that physical distancing requirements can be maintained, including no water slide usage, limited poolside seating and timed entry which limits the number of patrons in the pool at one time.
By the end of June, some of the City’s network of 15 community centres will reopen for limited use. Chandler-Mowat Community Centre will open as a cooling centre facility while Mill-Courtland Community Centre will be reopened two days a week to support the Mill-Courtland Neighbourhood and Highland-Stirling Community Groups’ community bag lunch program. Kingsdale Community Centre will reopen to provide food distribution services by the House of Friendship on Wednesdays, enabling the program to be moved indoors from the parking lot during the summer months. Four of the City’s largest community centres – Country Hills, Stanley Park, Victoria Hills and Forest Heights – will re-open only to enable the safe delivery of summer day camps. The City will offer 1,000-1,300 day camp spaces, compared to the typical 4,900 spots, on a priority basis beginning with those who had already registered for day camps.
The re-opening of select City arenas will be expedited from mid-August to mid-July to ensure that ice is available for sport groups that have received approvals to deliver individual or small group training. The number of ice pads to be installed will depend on demand however the City anticipates opening 1-4 ice pads, beginning with Activa Sportsplex followed by Sportsworld.
As the City’s gradual re-opening progresses, additional facilities and amenities will be reopened based on direction from the Province and according to the Kitchener Reopens plan approved by Council June 8.