February 23, 2021
The ORFA is recommending to members that have outdoor aquatic infrastructure to prepare for high user loads as Ontarian’s emerge from their winter COVID-19 pandemic lockdown seeking sun and relaxation.
If this winter season has taught us anything is that people will be creative when seeking recreational opportunities. Members are sharing challenges of keeping skaters off retention ponds while trying to control outdoor skating ice to meet public health and social distancing requirements. As the warmer weather arrives, it should be expected that fountains, natural water and any other area that looks inviting to swim or cool off may be considered.
In addition, some communities have experienced poor user conduct in support buildings that offer washrooms. Users have quickly exhausted supplies or in some cases continually remove hand sanitizer because of its high alcohol content. Operations that have chosen not to open this type of support infrastructure have found that the public is finding secluded areas to relieve themselves that must then be addressed by staff. High demand also brings high waste generation that requires constant attention. Having proper staffing levels to address these operational issues is critical as the pandemic does not reduce an owners responsibility for legislation compliance such as Public Health Regulations. The ORFA strongly recommends that members produce strong business plans in anticipation of the warm weather ahead to ensure that we continue to offer safe and healthy recreational experiences.
The ORFA Recalibration of Ontario’s Pool, Spa and Splash Pad Regulation resource released in 2018 is a quality guidance document designed to assist members in their responsibilities. In addition, the ORFA is exploring the offering of all Certified Aquatic Technician professional designation courses virtually in the coming months. Stay tuned.