The city posted a document on popular online tendering site Merx Thursday asking businesses to come forward with proposals to provide the service at 25 different public facilities. Many of them are recreation buildings, such as swimming pools and skating arenas.
Coun. Tim Tierney, the chair of the city committee that’s advancing the idea, said he’s not willing to pay the winning firm any public funds. Instead he wants prospective providers to get creative with incentives that could entice them into getting involved.
A big part of this is likely to include advertising, he said, given the high visibility that a winning bidder could have at the highly-used facilities the city is targeting around town.
However he doesn’t want bidders to limit themselves to just thinking about placing their logo everywhere. He said the city is willing to listen to any other ideas businesses come up with for making it worthwhile to provide the service.
“We’ll leave it to them,” he said, “They’ll have to be very imaginative.”
The idea behind the initiative is to make people more comfortable spending time at the city’s facilities, said Mr. Tierney. This means allowing them to check e-mail on a smartphone as they watched a child’s hockey game, he said by way of example.
Ottawa City Hall, the ByWard Market Building and several community centres are also included on the list of places the city wants fitted up with Wi-Fi.