Wetaskiwin’s recreation centre will continue to keep its doors closed on Sundays until staffing shortage issues can be resolved.
In October Wetaskiwin city council approved a reduction in service levels following a staffing shortage with lifeguards, resulting in the Manluk Centre pool being short staffed and unable to cover shifts.
In the fall the recreation centre saw nine lifeguards resign due to gaining employment elsewhere or to pursue post-secondary education.
To work with available staff and for the safety of guests, it was decided that the Manluk Centre would be closed on Sundays until more staff became available.
READ MORE: Manluk Centre to close Sundays this fall
During the regular Nov. 28, city council meeting, council received a report of the continued staffing shortages at the Manluk Centre and the best course of action would be to continue Sunday closures.
“Despite our best efforts, we have been unsuccessful in recruiting new lifeguards,” said the city’s manager of recreation Natasha Grant.
“While it may cause some inconveniences the decision to remain closed on Sundays was the best option we could make so we could continue to deliver good service to Wetaskiwinites while maintaining safety standards and minimizing the risk of burnout for our staff.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a province-wide lifeguard shortage which has disproportionately affected rural communities more than urban communities.
There is currently enough staff to allow scheduled programing including swim lessons to continue without disruption.
The facility’s hours will continue as follows:
• Monday to Friday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• Saturday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• Sunday: closed
In the city’s recruitment efforts they are looking to add two full-time Lifeguard III positions. There is also a recruitment program scheduled to begin January 2023 which will provide successful applicants the opportunity to take the courses needed to become a certified lifeguard at no cost. In return the applicants are hired as lifeguards.