Swimming Pool

The lack of lifeguards means less swim time at the Castlegar, Nelson and Creston pools

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) blames a nationwide shortage of lifeguards and swimming instructors for a continued reduction in hours at its swimming pools in Castlegar, Creston and Nelson.

A statement released by the RDCK last week gave no specifics on how reduced hours would be, but suggested double-checking your facility’s schedule before heading to the pool, as information can change quickly.

Changes to hours of operation will be communicated via the facility’s recorded telephone greeting, facility signs, social media and the RDCK website.

“Public safety is our top priority and unfortunately, with employees leaving to pursue other career paths and being furloughed, we do not have sufficient experienced staff to operate our regional pools at full capacity for the time being,” said Joe Chirico , RDCK General Manager of Community Services.

“Due to the disruption in training and development for prospective lifeguards and swim instructors, we have caught up in our succession of experienced staff. Our goal is to return to pre-pandemic service delivery and without more staff, including to manage watersports in all our pools, hours will continue to be limited and will continue to fluctuate.”

According to the RDCK, lifeguard shortages began during the pandemic when training and certification programs were suspended.

It typically takes about two and a half years to train a lifeguard or swimming instructor to work in the field.

“To ensure RDCK can expand its experienced and skilled workforce, we are employing a regional training approach to provide opportunities across the RDCK region,” said Amanda Beavers, RDCK Regional Programmer. “We use qualified staff to conduct courses as needed, or hire external trainers when the qualifications or capacity are not available in-house.”

If you are interested in lifeguard certification or swimming instructor certification, contact an RDCK facility or visit rdck.ca/recreation for information on training opportunities.

The RDCK is looking for responsible individuals with lifeguard and/or supervisory experience – particularly those who are able to work full week, day hours. For RDCK aquarium and hobby jobs, go to www.rdck.ca/jobs.

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