The Manluk Centre: Wetaskiwin Regional Aquatics and Fitness has reduced hours in response to a lifeguard shortage. Recreation Program Supervisor for the City of Wetaskiwin Cal Zimmer confirmed that these shortages are an after affect of COVID-19 where previous lifeguards found employment elsewhere during the recreation shut downs or have made the decision to not return to aquatics now that all facilities are at full capacity allowance.
Wetaskiwin is one of many Alberta municipalities facing the need to reschedule aquatics programming due to these shortages. At the end of July the City of Leduc announced that hours of operation and programs at Leduc’s aquatic facilities, the Leduc Recreation Centre and Alexandra Outdoor Pool, would be altered due to a critical shortage of staff.
In response to their own shortages, the Manluk Centre in Wetaskiwin, Alta., has launched a new schedule that reduces the facilities overall hours of operation. This allows for more lifeguards to be scheduled within these hours and for more people to be able to use the facility at one time as Alberta Public Pool Safety Standards state that one lifeguard can only supervise up to 40 swimmers at a time.
“Our hope is that our new schedule will allow us to better serve the community while also keeping everyone safe while we navigate this staffing shortage,” said Natasha Grant, Manager of Recreation with the City of Wetaskiwin.
Aquatic facilities will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, while opening at 6:00 a.m. and closing at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays. The City of Wetaskiwin says that these changes will be in place until the lifeguard vacancies are filled.