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Lifeguard shortage leads to Didsbury pool closure on Sundays

Nation-wide shortage of lifeguards having impacts locally
MVT Didsbury Aquatic Centre
Patrons participate in an aquafit session in the Didsbury Aquatic Centre in 2020. A current shortage of lifeguards has led to no swimming being available at the pool on Sundays File photo/MVP Staff

DIDSBURY - Like some other communities in the district, a shortage of lifeguards is impacting service hours at the Didsbury Aquatic Centre, says Nicole Aasen, director of community services with the Town of Didsbury.

The current shortage of lifeguards has led to no swimming being available on Sundays. The pool remains open Monday to Saturday.

“We have been experiencing similar issues (as other communities) in finding qualified, experienced lifeguards since reopening after the COVID closures,” Aasen told the Albertans. “We currently cannot open Sundays due to the vacancies we are experiencing. This is a Canada-wide problem, not just locally.”

The local facility, located at 1702 - 21 Avenue in the Didsbury Memorial Complex, is currently short two lifeguards age 18 and older. 

“We have been fortunate to hire and train six new lifeguards this year, which has definitely been helpful,” she said. “However, because they are new to the industry, they need to be paired with more senior lifeguards to offer continued training, mentorship and to ensure the safety of our patrons and facility. 

“Those more experienced lifeguards are the positions that are difficult to fill right now.”

Each school break, the Town of Didsbury runs advanced courses that are required to become a lifeguard – Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, National Lifeguard Certification – in the hopes of training new guards to replace those that head off to school or other careers, she said.

The municipality hopes to have the pool reopen on a seven-day schedule sometime before summer, she said.

The Olds Aquatic Centre was forced to close during the recent Family Day holiday due of a lack of lifeguards, officials said.

Dan Singleton

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