News / Ottawa

What snowstorm? Ottawa council extends beach season

Britannia, Mooney’s Bay, Petrie Island and Westboro beaches will all stay open for 72 days – up from 65 days.

It will cost the City of Ottawa $31,000 to keep four beaches open a week longer. Those funds will come from the temporary closure of an outdoor pool that needs replacing.

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It will cost the City of Ottawa $31,000 to keep four beaches open a week longer. Those funds will come from the temporary closure of an outdoor pool that needs replacing.

A snowstorm is in the forecast for Ottawa this week, but city councillors are already planning a longer beach season.

On Wednesday, city council voted to extend the supervised beach days by an extra week this year.

Britannia, Mooney’s Bay, Petrie Island and Westboro beaches will all stay open for 72 days – up from 65 days – until the last Sunday in August before the Labour Day weekend.

It will cost the city an additional $31,000 to supervise the four beaches an extra seven days. But the funds are coming from the temporary closure of an outdoor pool that is being replaced. As for future beach seasons, they will find the cash in the parks, recreation and culture operating budget for 2017.

“It’s a good news story. It stays within budget. It gives residents what they were looking for last year,” said Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli, who moved the motion to fund the extended beach season.

Last year, the city closed its supervised beaches during a late August heat wave, which left many people scratching their (sweaty) heads.

At the time, staff said there was no room in the budget to keep the lifeguards on the stands a little longer. Bathers were still free to swim at the four beaches, however – they were just unsupervised.

Last month, city staff recommended staggering the opening and closing dates of the four beaches – Westboro and Petrie Island would open and close later, while Mooney’s Bay and Britannia would open and close earlier – rather than spending money to tack on an extra week of supervised beach time.

Egli said this would create a “level of unfairness.” Those who lived close to a particular beach might have to travel somewhere else in the midst of a heat wave, he said.