Fairview Regional Aquatic Centre Review

As residents are aware, hours at the Aquatic Center have recently been cut back for the second time in as many years. This has caused many to wonder what is happening and how this can be resolved. We wish to be completely transparent with the community and make every effort to ensure the public is informed of what we believe is taking place, as well as what we believe needs to be done for the situation to be resolved.

Staffing

The most common comment we have received has been questions around staffing. Why don’t we just hire more people, train more youths, or pay more?

Hire more people

We have been trying for several years now to hire more senior lifeguards. However, in all that time we received very few applicants. Most of the good applicants who we hired have since moved on to other careers or areas.

Train more youths

We currently have a large number of junior lifeguards on staff. This is not currently an issue. By law, every shift must have a qualified certified senior lifeguard in attendance and this is our current issue.

Pay more

Based on salary studies that have been completed, Aquatic Centre salaries are competitive with other lifeguard positions of similar sized communities. The well-known job website “Indeed” shows that the average SeniorLifeguard salary across Alberta is right in the middle of our salary range. We could increase the pay even more to try and entice some to move to our community, however, the increased salary costs may mean increases to user rates or tax rates.

Why the problem in recruiting qualified applicants then?

What we have seen is that Junior Lifeguards do not view being a Lifeguard as a career.  Lifeguarding is a good evening and weekend job while in school, but not a career choice. In the 15-year history of the Fairview Regional Aquatic Centre, not one Junior Lifeguard has progressed to a Senior Lifeguard position and decided upon that as a career.

The facility has always run with a minimum of Senior Lifeguards, which leads them having to work much harder and longer.  All the senior staff then must carry a heavy work load that includes mechanical, chemical, janitorial, programming, lifeguarding, administrative and program delivery, while also maintaining the high level of fitness and technique required to meet the rigorous national lifeguard standards that require recertification every two years.  This means the good candidates we do find burnout quicker and feel the need to leave for other locations. To prevent our last Senior Lifeguard from burning out completely, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily scale back hours of operation.

How can we resolve this?

The easiest way would be to hire more Senior Lifeguards, but as we have been advertising for years now with very little interest, this seems unlikely.

Other options are also being considered by staff and council, but as these options are very preliminary, there is no specific direction yet. As we get more information about the options available to us, this information will be shared with the community.

How can I help?

If you or someone you know is looking for a rewarding, stable career in Fairview, encourage them to consider being a Lifeguard. There are specific training requirements which we can direct any interested parties towards.

Please contact the Town office for more information on joining the Aquatic Centre Team.

Training

A Junior Lifeguard must obtain the following certifications: Bronze Cross, Bronze Medallion, National Lifeguard and First Aid. The training for all four are given at our local Aquatic Centre. Once the training has been taken at our local facility, and after working with us for six months, the lifeguard may apply for reimbursement of the training costs.

Senior vs Junior Lifeguard

A Senior Lifeguard is at least 18 years old and has a high level of experience working at the facility. They must be comfortable with leading rescue efforts in the event of a major, life-threatening situation at the pool. They also must understand and be trained on water chemistry. Water chemistry training is available for staff at our facility through the Pool Operator Level I and II courses.