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Wading Pool News 2009 - 2010

August 2009: Problems that remain or are new since the renovation

Now that the wading pool has been operating for some weeks, certain problems are becoming evident, which need some follow-up.


There's a solid grate to stand on but...

the cover obstructs the extension handle (to open the valve)

there is no grate in the deep turn-off pit

staff have to bend over the pit to turn the handle, many times

The wading pool staff say it needs 24 turns to turn the water on or off, which takes a long time. That whole time they are bending over an open pit. It's harder for shorter staff to reach over to the turning pole. If they fell in, they might knock themselves out, and then they could drown. The turning mechanism is awkward and sometimes it gets stuck.

Many of the pool staff are concerned about this awkward, dangerous mechanism, so presumably the Joint Health and Safety Committee will soon have to investigate this problem. The Park's capital projects staff need to find a better a better design to turn wading pools on and off.

This kind of pool mechanism is safer and easier

this bench at Dufferin is not the same thing.

The controls at some other wading pools (for example, Carlton, Trinity, and the Grange) are much easier to operate, and not dangerous. We thought we were getting the same thing, and the concrete bench that holds the filling pipes at Dufferin Grove wading pool looks similar. But it's not the same. The staff still have to brave the deep "pit" to turn the water off, and they have to struggle with heavy iron rods, turning the valves many times before they open or close.



the handle for the water spouts is pretty stiff, but okay

..but the kids push the spray backwards over the barrier

there's no paving here so the spray makes mud...

and the mud gets into the pool water

The staff try to sweep the mud away but even so, they have to drain and refill the pool in mid-day, because there's too much leaking of mud. The mud breaks down the chlorine very fast. This has a simple solution -- broaden the apron of paving behind the spray barrier.



the surface is nice and smooth but more slippery the staff have to write signs to warn the kids

This problem is not dire. It's more of a trade-off -- the older wading pools have a rougher cement surface, so it doesn't look as nice, and kids can scrape themselves if they fall. But they don't slip. With the new pool, staff say they have had to do a number of injury incidence reports since the renovation, because kids slip on the pool surface and bang themselves. These injuries so far have not been serious. However, nobody likes to fall and bang their head.

April 26 2010

After several months of attempts to get the relevant staff out to the park, to discuss the problems with the pool turn-on mechanism, today the plumber was here for other business and he was taken to the wading pool pit to talk about it. The plumber said that the pits are a problem citywide and the plumbers/welders/etc, are talking about possible solutions, such as putting a smaller door in the cover, so the staff wouldn't have to raise the whole cover every time. He said they'd work on it. He also said that the smaller turn-on/off mechanism at e.g. Carlton Pool is poor because they have trouble getting at the pipes when repairs are needed. That's because when the smaller turn-ons were installed, cement covers were put on the pits. No need to do that, though.

In addition, we talked to the plumber about the muddy area behind the water-spray feature, cause by all the back-spray. This muddy water then runs back into the pool, requiring staff to add more chlorine, to compensate. At times they even need to drain the pool and start over. The plumber agreed that putting extra concrete in that area would help, and said he'd look into it.

May 7 2010

Part-time (on-site) recreation staff reported that full-time recreation staff Chris Kennedy had got word from the plumber that he spoke to Peter Didiano (Capital Projects staff in charge of the wading pool reno) about the equipment pit problems. Apparently Mr.Didiano told the plumber that the remedial work would have to be done by the City, so the plumber is going to put in work orders to the welder. The work orders will be:

1. To attach the loose piece of platform in the north mechanical pit, where last year one of the wading pool staff got her foot caught when it gave way.

2. To attach a new platform, or make a smaller door, on the south mechanical pit. There seems to be no date on this work yet.

3. To extend the concrete apron behind the water-spray feature. The plumber wrote that a work order had been put in and the work should be done in time for the pool to open.

May 8 2010

The new wading pool surface has cracks running all along the seams underneath, and the cracks are bulging slightly, but the surface material still adheres.

The same cracks are at Christie Pits wading pool and at Bellevue Park wading pool. But the problem at Bellevue is more worrying, because there the surfacing is flaking off in quite a few places. It can be peeled back easily. Is that what's next at the other wading pools too?

Bellevue wading pool -- flaking surface

Christie wading pool -- cracks along old seams

steady leak from the Bellevue wading pool tap

The other thing about Bellevue wading pool is that despite last year's reno, the tap leaks a steady small stream of water. Maybe somebody just needs to turn it off properly in the pit. Or maybe the reno at this wading pool, like the others, was more for looks than for function, so that the plumbing -- the working parts -- were a bit of an afterthought. We'll see.

From Jutta Mason to Dufferin Grove staff Mayssan Shuja Udden, May 8 2010

This turn-on valve is also an improvement

Could you please pass this e-mail to Chris Kennedy, for her to pass to Tom Feeney? I thought he said at our April wading pool meeting that there is no way to avoid staff having to do so many turns with that heavy annoying handle to get the water flowing into the pool. But I just found this picture (scroll down) that I took last summer, of a better valve at Bellevue Square wading pool. The staff there say it takes only one or two turns. Can you let me know whether the Dufferin Grove valve can be replaced with the same kind as at Bellevue? (Their wading pool is about the same size as ours).

I've cc'd Councillor Giambrone because of his interest in 2010 playground improvements, and Kevin Beaulieu because he asked to be kept up to date on our concerns.

To Technical Services Supervisor John Abela, after a site meeting on June 18 2010,

Here's the updated list (on-site staff notes) regarding the wading pool fixes that we discussed:

trap doors installed at Dufferin Grove

1. Water turn-on: A trap door will be cut into the water turn-on pit before June 26 (start of pool season). The valve attachment will be relocated so it's in line with the trap door. That means there's no need to modify the T-key that opens the valve.

2. Improved valve: Tom Feeney will be asked to investigate the suitability of the Bellevue Square Park wading pool valve, for Dufferin Grove. Because of its proximity to the sandpit and very high usage, the Dufferin Grove wading pool often needs half-emptying and replenishing on any given day. Otherwise staff can't maintain the required chlorine levels, a problem that was the first item on television newscasts three years ago. With all the emptying and refilling necessary, staff are additionally taxed by a valve that requires so many turns.

If the Bellevue-style valve is a solution, you will cost it out and see if it can fit into the available SOGR budget of $12,000. I note that you said the materials for the French drain will be expensive, but perhaps the sand already purchased for playgrounds can help save some money here (since Council is now considering playground accessibility).

3. Outdoor Cob Kitchen shut-off valve: You will raise it so it is easier to access.

4. Wading pool surfacing: this will be addressed by Parks and also by Peter Didiano. Parks will arrange for the pool surface to be power-washed prior to opening day (June 26). Recreation did a last-minute power-washing on Friday to allow for the sprinklers to be used on the weekend. But the spray was too weak (machine too small), and it may be that Parks will need some chemicals too.

Aquatics will need to direct staff at resurfaced wading pools to log the number of slips and falls this summer, to assess the longer term.

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