A group of students from the Bronze Cross course practiced rescuing their “drowning” peers by calling out and diving in to save them on Monday morning at the Rossland pool.

Greater Trail pools struggling with lack of lifeguards

Courses have been cancelled and staff hours are climbing, as Rossland and Warfield’s swimming pools grapple with a lifeguard shortage.

Courses have been cancelled and staff hours are climbing, as Rossland and Warfield’s swimming pools grapple with a lifeguard shortage.

“This year was the first year where it was a real struggle to find enough staff,” said Lauren Bergen, head lifeguard at the Rossland pool. “But it has definitely been a struggle to keep most of our programs.”

As a result, some classes and extra activities—like floating movie nights—have been cancelled.

Some of the lifeguards have been commuting between Rossland and Warfield so that the communities can continue to receive swimming lessons and use the pool. In fact, a lack of applicants this summer forced the City of Rossland to issue a province-wide call for applicants.

“Everybody is already at maximum hours so it’s hard to do extra things that would set the Rossland pool apart,” Bergen said. “We’re sharing an instructor for camps because a lot of people like to do lessons up here because they don’t go to Trail as much.”

But Robin Hethey, the City of Rossland’s recreation programmer, is looking for a solution.

“We’ve introduced some new positions,” Hethey said. “It’s sort of like being a cashier, but you get experience doing pool maintenance and helping out with some of the lessons. We’re hoping that this program will motivate some of the kids.”

This year the City of Rossland hired five employees for part-time cashier positions in an attempt to motivate them to complete courses in lifeguard training.

Another perk Hethey mentioned is that students in B.C. may use their lifeguard training towards high school graduation, and the certifications are transferable throughout Canada.

“Depending on the applicant’s age, it can take four or five years to become qualified,” Hethey said. “And because we live in a mountain community, becoming a lifeguard is a long road—physically, mentally and financially.”

Youth who continue to receive training for guarding will gain as much as $5 more per hour when they move up to lifeguard or instructor positions.

In Rossland, lifeguards earn $15 per hour and lifeguard/instructors earn $16.50 per hour, but in urban centres guards can earn roughly $25 per hour.

“Hopefully these new positions will encourage them to continue training so that they can get a guard position, which means they get paid more and there are more hours. It’s a little bit of a reward for how far they come in their course and a bit of support to keep going and get the rest of these courses.”

Alternatively the Trail Aquatic Centre has been “fortunate” this summer, and hadn’t had any difficulties hiring lifeguards this season, according to Victoria Gladue the aquatic coordinator.

In order to qualify for lifeguard positions, applicants are required to have certifications like the Bronze Cross, the Lifesaving Instructor credential and the National Lifeguard Service Award (NLS).




Just Posted

Rossland’s Joe Hill Coffee House rings in the season

Show on Sunday, Dec. 16, features some new voices and some old, helping spread Yuletide cheer.

Rossland elementary students learn about business, community

Students’ efforts raises money for Giving Cupboard

Snowstorm called for the Kootenays

FortisBC advises electric customers to prepare for storm-related outages

Rosssland ski bus returns this year — with a fee

Company to offer service from downtown to RED Mountain 12 hours a day

Rossland meeting targets for sustainability, report says

Report card gives city high marks in most areas of sustainable development

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Most Read