The pool at Meadow Park Sports Centre will reopen to the public next Monday after its annual closure for maintenance, but there will likely be fewer hours of operation for the first time in 14 years, due to a shortage of lifeguards.
The Resort Municipality of Whistler has been searching for qualified lifeguards, with advertised wages of $20 per hour and flexible hours, but still does not have enough staff.
While lifeguard shortages are not unique to Whistler, the RMOW is taking steps to develop more lifeguards. The municipality has offered free lifesaving and lifeguard training to high school students, a program that has been successful but participants need to be 16 to take the National Lifeguard Service Award. The RMOW is now expanding the free program to the general public.
As well, resort employees with international lifeguard experience are encouraged to apply, as the municipality is looking at ways to fast track the certification process by offering a customized course.
Exactly how the shortage will affect hours of operation is unknown, but hours will be updated daily on the telephone information line, 604-935-PLAY (7529).
The RMOW is looking for fully or partially certified and qualified lifeguards and instructors with the National Lifeguard Service Award (pool option), Red Cross Water Safety instructor, standard First Aid and CPR-C certification. Contact Jon Pollard at 604-935-8357 to apply.
This year the list of upgrades to the pool includes a repaint of the pool basin, upgrades to the air exchange unit, and resurfacing of the pool deck, as well as improvements to the sauna and steam room.