The Vernon Aquatic Centre must alter its fee schedule and hours of operation in order to compensate for increased costs associated with additional life guard. (City of Vernon - photo)

The Vernon Aquatic Centre must alter its fee schedule and hours of operation in order to compensate for increased costs associated with additional life guard. (City of Vernon - photo)

Hours trimmed at Vernon pool to cover costs of new lifeguard

To cover costs of additional lifeguard hours recreation services changes pool and fee schedule

Hours at the Vernon Aquatic Centre will be changed as of March 2.

The pool will close a half hour early Monday through Thursday and an hour earlier on Fridays. Afternoon swims throughout the summer months will also be nixed to cover the costs of the additional required lifeguard hours.

Fees will also be increased four per cent at a later date.

The pool requires an additional lifeguard on deck with more than 80 patrons in the water, city director of recreation services Doug Ross told city council Feb. 24.

The change is a requirement that ensures the city is in compliance with national standards, outlined by the Lifesaving Society of Canada.

The cost of the additional 1,300 hours of life-guarding time is an estimated $43,000.

The City of Vernon approved the increases, but its partners in the Recreation Services Facilities and Programming Agreement, including the District of Coldstream and Electoral Areas B and C, did not approve the pool’s requested service level adjustments.

Coldstream funds $6,801 and Areas B and C pay $3,400, while the City of Vernon contributes nearly $30,000.

“The request for additional funding was supported by Vernon city council, but was not approved by the District of Coldstream or Electoral Areas B and C, as they did not want to open the current agreement,” a statement from the City of Vernon read.

To make up for the unexpected $43,000 cost, the pool suggested cutting its operational hours and raising its admission fees would reduce the overall financial burden on its patrons.

“As reducing operating hours drastically or increasing fees significantly would impact participation more than what is advisable, administration is recommending a balanced approach by reducing some operating hours and instituting a moderate fee increase,” Ross wrote in his report to council.

Altering the pool’s operational hours will save around $23,000, while impacting around 9,000 user visits.

The fee increase is expected to make up the remaining $20,000. The fee increase is expected to take effect on April 1, 2020.

“While this is extremely unfortunate, individuals identified as being financially disadvantaged through our Affordable Access Pass program can still receive a 75% discount when attending the normal public swim times,” Ross said.

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Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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Municipal Government