Memoranda issued by Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services

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Information on the publication of memoranda

Memoranda issued by the City of Ottawa’s Senior Leadership Team to all Members of Council and the media will be published here when available. The memoranda are published on an ongoing basis as they become available. They will remain online for a period of one year from the date of issue.

In accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA), some attachments have not been proactively disclosed. If you are seeking an attachment that is not available online, please visit for information on filing an access to information request.

Memo: Successful launch of fall non-aquatic recreation registration (August 24, 2023)

August 24, 2023

To: Mayor and Members of Council

From: Dan Chenier, General Manager Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services Department

The purpose of this memo is to advise Members of Council that the online launch of fall non-aquatic program registration that took place yesterday, Wednesday, August 23, 2023, went very well and experienced no technical issues. Residents were able to successfully book programs for the upcoming season with minimal wait times.

Following recent adjustments made by the vendor, the ACTIVENet service performed well last night, processing 10,000 registrations in the first ten minutes without delay. Peak registration occurred 20 minutes after launch. This morning, the service has processed over 14,000 registrations.

Staff remain committed to working with ACTIVENet to ensure a reliable service.

Memo: New date for fall non-aquatic recreation registration (August 21, 2023)

August 21, 2023

To: Mayor and Members of Council

From: Dan Chenier, General Manager Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services Department

The purpose of this memo is to notify Members of Council that the online launch of fall non-aquatic program registration has been re-scheduled to Wednesday, August 23, 2023, at 9 pm, and in-person registration to Thursday, August 24, 2023. Staff have put together a comprehensive communications plan to ensure residents are made aware of the new dates. This will include a public service announcement, updates to and social media, an email to DiscoverRec subscribers, and radio ads. Registration for aquatic and Before and After School programs remains open and ongoing.

Following ongoing investigations and testing, the vendor ACTIVENet has advised that the cause of the disruption that occurred during aquatic registration on Monday, August 14 was from a planned software update that negatively impacted the hardware responsible for balancing the high volume of transactions during peak registration across available servers. Subsequently, the service was impaired for a short time resulting in poor performance. The issue has now been resolved.

Many residents have expressed concerns about the capacity of the ACTIVENet service to handle registration night volumes. On the previous registration system, City servers could only process 450 concurrent transactions, causing long wait times during registration launch nights. The vendor has assured us that the issues that occurred during aquatic registrations are not reflective of the new service’s ability to handle the peak registration periods for the City of Ottawa as well as their other clients. This has been demonstrated for winter, spring and summer registrations. The City is confident the ACTIVENet service has sufficient server capacity to support our high volume of registrations.

I wish to thank residents, as well as Members of Council, for their patience as staff worked diligently with ACTIVENet to resolve this issue.

Memo: Postponement of fall non-aquatic recreation registration (August 16, 2023)

August 16, 2023

To: Mayor and Members of Council

From: Dan Chenier, General Manager Recreation

The purpose of this memo is to notify Members of Council that tonight’s fall non-aquatic program registration launch has been postponed. Following ongoing discussions with the vendor it cannot be confirmed that the issues that occurred on Monday have been resolved to support the peak volumes of registration night. While this was a difficult decision to make, it is the recommendation of the vendor, and our priority is to ensure that the resident experience is a positive one.

Staff have been working diligently with ACTIVENet management and engineers to determine the cause of the disruption that occurred during aquatic registration. Initial review suggests that the disruption is related to a hardware issue in the ACTIVENet datacentre that affected the flow of online traffic to available servers. A temporary solution mitigated the issue resulting in return to regular service by 9:40 pm. By 11 pm, over 25,000 transactions had been completed.

ACTIVENet has extended an apology to the City and our residents for the lapse in service as well as made assurances that they are working around the clock to ensure that this issue has been corrected. A new date for fall non-aquatic program registration will be communicated as soon as possible. Aquatic registrations remain open and ongoing.

We are committed to providing residents with a registration system that they can trust, and I sincerely apologize for Monday’s technical issue. I will continue to keep Council and the public up to date on ACTIVENet’s progress, as they have committed to providing more information as it becomes available in the coming days.  

Thank you.

Memo: Tony Graham sponsorship agreement roll-out (June 7, 2023)

June 7, 2023

To: Mayor and Members of Council

From: Dan Chenier, General Manager Recreation

Mayor and Members of Council,

I’m pleased to advise that the activation of the City’s 10-year sponsorship agreement with the Tony Graham Automotive Group is underway.

In addition to naming rights at the Kanata Recreation Complex, Tony Graham Automotive Group is investing in community recreation programming through the sponsorship of free access for Ottawa youth to our cardio and weight rooms for the summer months at select City recreation centres.

There are many benefits to motivating youth to be and stay active, especially for their mental health and social well-being. Offering free memberships to Ottawa youth is a great incentive to introduce them to fitness and a healthy choice of activity during the summer months.

To qualify for the free workout pass, youth must be a resident of Ottawa between the ages of 13 to 17, attend a short orientation at their preferred location to familiarize them with the safe use of the equipment, and have a signed consent form from a parent or guardian.

For more information on this new youth recreation program, visit

We encourage you to share this exciting new initiative with your residents. Should you have any questions related to this, please feel free to contact Ingrid Meza-McDonald , Manager, Corporate Sponsorships.

Memo: Outdoor aquatic and recreation programs for wading pools, splash pads, beaches, outdoor pools (May 17, 2023)

Date: May 17, 2023

To: Mayor and Members of Council

From: Dan Chenier, General Manager

With the outdoor summer recreation season approaching, we are providing the information below with details on the City's beach, outdoor pool, wading pool and park programs.

Site Location Contact# Open - Closed
Mooney's Bay 2926 Riverside Dr. 613-248-0863 June 17 to August 27
Britannia 2805 Carling Ave. 613-820-1211 June 17 to August 27
Petrie Island 795 Tweedle Rd. 613-824-5704 June 17 to August 27

Beaches are supervised Monday to Sunday, noon to 7 pm, from June 17 to August 27.

  • Beach pavilion washrooms will be open from May 20 to September 4 at the three beach sites. Monday to Thursday, 10:30 am to 9 pm
  • Friday to Sunday 10:30 am to 7 pm

The City will not be providing lifeguard supervision at Westboro Beach this year. The NCC is advising that due to construction at the site, only reduced unsupervised access to the beach area will be available. The City recommends swimming at supervised beaches only. Water testing will not be completed at this location. For information on water quality at beach locations, contact Ottawa Public Health: 613-580-2424 ext.13219 or Beach Water Quality Results - Ottawa Public Health.

For general information on beaches, please visit Outdoor Swim and Splash or email

Memo: Budget inquiry – cost estimates for wading pools and washrooms in parks (February 21, 2023)

February 21, 2023

To: Mayor and Members of Council

From: Dan Chenier, General Manager Recreation

This memo is in response to Councillor Menard’s budget inquiry to Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services (RCFS) requesting cost estimates to extend wading pool hours and to open washrooms in City parks more consistently.

Wading pools

Historically, wading pools have staggered seasonal start and end dates between two cohorts. The planned 2023 wading pool season for half the pools in cohort A is June 26th to August 20th, and the season for the remaining pools in cohort B is July 1st to August 27th. The start dates align with the end of the elementary school year in late June, since young children are the primary users of wading pools.

Staff have prepared and costed two options for extending wading pool hours:

Option 1 – Omit the typical staggered opening model and open as many pools as staffing will allow from June 24th to August 27th. This would result in cohort A receiving an extra week at the end of the season, and cohort B receiving an extra week at the beginning of the season. This option adds an extra two weeks to all wading pools and moves the program to a 9-week operation.

The additional operating cost required for this option is $229,898.

Option 2 - Create four wading pool cohorts and stagger opening dates between June 17th to July 1st. This would result in an additional 7 days for each cohort and an overall 2-week extension of the wading pool season.

The additional operating cost required for this option is $100,580. Canada Day & Civic Holiday
To open City operated wading pools on both holidays, the cost would be $112,075.

Staffing of the wading pool program continues remains a challenge. With either option of the extension options presented above, there is a high likelihood that not all pools will achieve full operational hours during the wading pool season extension. Most positions in this program are new summer hires filled by students. There is an annual challenge with completing training and retaining a full staff complement until after high school exams and graduation are completed at the end of June. Similarly in late August, staff retention is a challenge as students leave for school. The staffing variable is difficult to predict and has direct implications on the department’s ability to implement an extended season.

Washrooms in parks

For the purpose of this inquiry, staff have prepared costing assuming that some park washroom facilities could be staffed from April 1st to October 1st to provide daily access (opening and closing the facility), to maintain clean and sanitary conditions, to address any operational or maintenance issues and to provide overall supervision and security

Cost for an Attendant position for wages and benefits $18.00/hour Daily wage total (two employees, 8-hours) per site: $288.00 Weekly wage total per site: $2,016.00
Cleaning supplies & toiletries per week, per site: $105.00 Weekly total per site: $2,121.00
April 1st to October 1st (26 weeks) for one site, seven days a week: $55,146.00

The above calculations provide an example of a possible staffing model. With this information, costs could be moderated by reducing the number of service hours per day or week, and the number of service locations.

Due to the age of some washroom facilities, many within parks are not fully accessible and lack appropriate automated door openers and accessible cubicles. A significant capital investment would be required to make the necessary retrofits. Staffing these positions could be a challenge and implementation would need to reflect the City’s ability to hire sufficient staff.

Many of the seasonal comfort stations in parks are located at wading pools where pool employees are on site from mid-day to early evening, and for up to 2 hours before a wading pool is open, and up to 2 hours after a wading pool is closed (exact hours vary by pool). Washrooms can remain open while staff are on site, increasing access to residents at no additional cost.

Porta potties

In an effort to increase washrooms facilities in parks, RCFS has a number of rental porta potties deployed to parks across the City. These units are a cost-effective way of providing washroom facilities without the cost pressures of staffing a facility. Current locations are primarily focused on supporting programming in parks, such as sports field tournament sites, District splash pads, etc. In addition to units installed under City contract, some sports organizations and Community Associations also rent units for park locations where their activities are focused. In 2022, 152 porta potties were placed in City parks from April to September.

These units are priced as monthly rentals and can include one or multiple service calls per week to empty and clean the unit, depending on volume of use. Costs increase with the number of service calls required. The average cost of an accessible unit with one service call per week is $113.90 per month. The cost to rent an additional two accessible porta potties in each ward, from April to September (6 months), would be 32,803.20.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.