A new staffing plan to better accommodate aquafit classes and evening pool operations at the Salmon Arm Recreation Centre will be included in the city’s 2017 budget.
The plan will convert part-time hours into a full-time position.
The Shuswap Recreation Society’s general manager, Dale Berger, explains that 80 to 90 per cent of staff at the pool have changed over the past year, which has primarily affected the aquafit program.
“The new position we’re adding will have the aquafit component to it… Two full-time staff now do aquafit and we’re dependent on them to do aquafit – primarily during the day. So we can’t separate the two,” he said.
“So in the evenings we’re depending on new hires to work the evening shift and that lack of experience concerns us. This will allow us to have a seasoned full-time lifeguard available for those.”
Then the three aquafit instructors can be rotated to provide coverage throughout the week, he added.
Monica Dalziel, the city’s chief financial officer, outlined similar reasoning for a full-time position in her budget memo to council.
“This recommendation comes as a result of ongoing issues regarding insufficient aquafit skills, risk associated with unsupervised underage employees during peak periods and inadequate supervisory coverage on evening shifts,” she wrote.
“…A further concern is that this is a high-demand program and staff can only provide a limited number of classes before they are at risk of injury (e.g. over- exertion/repetitive strain, etc.)… Another full-time lifeguard will provide additional and consistent aquafit classes.”
Another change in the recreation budget will be an expanded concession stand at the Shaw Centre. Berger told city council that moving the lower concession farther into the hallway and adding more space is being considered.
“It will provide better exposure. If you walk in from the players’ entrance, you don’t even know it’s there.”
Regarding funding for the arena and pool facilities, Coun. Kevin Flynn said he’d like to see it become more equitable.
He pointed to the difference between municipal and regional funding, and stressed they are regional facilities.
“I think when you see $2 million of municipal revenues to operate these two facilities, and $60,000 regionally, it’s a little bit of an inequity.”
He said he would like staff to collect data on where facility users come from. If the region doesn’t want to pay more, “I think we should have users outside Salmon Arm pay more.”
Coun. Alan Harrison said he would not charge different fees.
“I would never charge a kid from Sorrento more, to pay for a kid from Salmon Arm. It’s a political discussion – we need to talk to the region…”