Could you be a lifeguard? The Sunshine Coast Regional (SCRD) “wants to hear from you.”
On Jan. 7, the SCRD announced it “urgently” needs more lifeguards for the pools. A shortage of lifeguards is affecting much of the province and has reduced the hours and closed facilities of other jurisdictions, the SCRD’s press release said. COVID-19 is the likely culprit for the shortage: when facilities closed in the pandemic, lifeguards moved onto other jobs or did not renew their certifications.
“We are in a difficult situation as quite frankly, we do not have enough qualified lifeguards to safely keep our swimming pools open at our regular hours,” Shelley Gagnon, the general manager of community services at the SCRD, said in the release. “We are calling on members of our community to consider becoming a lifeguard and to help us keep these facilities that are so important to residents, open and available for use.”
For safety, there is a mandated ratio of lifeguards to pool users, and the SCRD had to limit the number of people at their facilities throughout 2021.
The SCRD will be continuing its recruitment efforts into 2022, but in the meantime, the hours at two of the swimming pools will be affected.
“Our staff have looked at a number of ways to reduce the impact of these schedule changes on swimming pool users and this scenario will ensure that residents along the Sunshine Coast will have equal access to their local swimming pools,” Gagnon said. “Unless the availability of qualified lifeguards improves, these changes will be in place until June 2022 and will be reassessed at that time.”
Starting Sunday, Jan. 16, the Sechelt Aquatic Centre will be closed on Sundays. Mondays it will be open 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., while Tuesdays through Saturdays it will be open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Gibsons and District Aquatic Facility will be closed on Saturdays. There will be staggered opening hours on Mondays. The pool will be open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
There will be no changes to the current hours of the Pender Harbour Aquatic and Fitness Centre.