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Sorry, folks, city’s splash pads won’t open for two weeks

And you’re going to have to start paying to ride the city bus again
O'Connor Playground splash pad. (Keira Ferguson/

Although today isn’t the best day for it, Greater Sudbury has already seen the kind of hot weather that sees children pushing their parents to go swimming or to run through a splash pad at a city park.

Unfortunately, despite Stage 2 reopening guidelines, the city said today it isn’t ready to open municipal pools and splash pads just yet. In fact, the city said it won’t have them open for a few weeks.

“While the Province has given us permission to reopen some amenities, it’s critical that we do so cautiously, and control the spread of COVID-19," said Mayor Brian Bigger in a news release. “We have been and continue to consult with our Public Health partners to develop customized reopening plans that keep the health and safety of our residents and staff top of mind. Decisions to reopen services require careful health and financial considerations."

Greater Sudbury operates 14 splash pads across the city. It takes about three weeks to prepare to open them, the city said today. Staff must remove barriers, install signage, conduct safety inspections and perform seasonal maintenance after winterization.

Consequently, it expects to have all 14 open by June 26. As each splash pad reopens, the city website and social media channels will be updated with the new information. 

Parents and guardians are reminded that splash pads are unsupervised water play areas, and parents/guardians must supervise their children at all times. These amenities are not sanitized and users are reminded to wash or sanitize their hands well before and after use and maintain a distance of two metres from others.

Pools are a different story. The city said “extensive safety protocols” must be in place before pools can reopen. Because it is common for usage to drop to low levels during the summer, “further evaluation is required on the opening of these facilities. More information will be shared in the coming weeks.”

The city also announced today that front-door boarding and fare collection will resume on all GOVA Transit buses on Monday, June 15. Temporary, clear plastic shields have been installed in the operator area of all buses to physically distance employees and passengers boarding through the front doors and using the farebox. The use of non-medical face masks is encouraged.

If you’re anxious to hit a sports field with your team, local sports associations should note they will be permitted to book playfields at James Jerome Sports Complex (soccer) and Terry Fox Sports Complex (baseball) beginning the week of June 29.

As mandated under provincial orders, fields can only be used for training or instructional sessions, which adhere to physical distancing and group sizes of no more than 10. No scrimmages or games are permitted. Sports organizations are required to ensure they are following all mandated provincial orders and Public Health guidelines for their activities. For more information, call Parks Services at 705-674-4455, extension 4578.

There is still no word on when private campgrounds will be allowed to open. The city will be providing information on this as it becomes available. 

As previously reported, parks, beaches, trails, sports fields and other recreational areas and open spaces are open, and group and physical distancing requirements remain in effect.

These recreational areas and open spaces will be maintained to ensure public safety, however, services may be delayed. This means grass cutting, garbage cleanup and other general maintenance activities may take longer than usual.

No lifeguard supervision is available at municipal beaches. Rescue equipment will be placed at beaches, however, residents who choose to swim will do so at their own risk. Daily inspections, such as water safety checks, will not occur. Water quality testing will continue by Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

Safety protocols are being developed to reopen public washrooms at beaches. More information on the opening of these facilities will be shared once details are finalized.

Indoor recreational group activities, community centres and field houses remain closed to the public until further notice, per provincial directives. This means summer student program is cancelled this year; museums will remain closed for the summer, and; all City-run summer camps and programs are cancelled, including neighbourhood playground programs.

Playgrounds, play structures and outdoor fitness equipment remain closed under provincial orders.