Vancouver Outdoor Pool Hours Change Again

Due to an ongoing shortage of lifeguards that the city says is affecting services “across North America,” Vancouver is again changing its pool schedules.

The changes take effect on Saturday, the city’s park board said.

“As a direct result of these shortages, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation has been forced to cancel swim sessions and, on occasion, completely close facilities,” it said in a statement Friday.

There will be fewer evening swim sessions available at Kitsilano Pool on weekdays, and a reduction to morning and evening sessions on weekends.

There will be no swimming at 9:30 a.m. at Second Beach Pool, moving the first session of the day to 12:15 p.m.

At this time the schedule is not changing at New Brighton Pool, but there may be fewer people allowed to swim in the evenings, depending on staff each day.

The council reminded the public that pools may not appear busy at times when capacity is reduced.

“The number of swimmers allowed in a pool at any given time is not only based on the size of the facility, but also on the number of lifeguards available,” the council said.

The council said it had tried to prepare for the summer, hiring 152 lifeguards ahead of the season.

“However, the total number of lifeguards is down 30% from pre-COVID levels. While 152 lifeguards may seem like a lot, this number only reflects the total number of lifeguards in the system and does not accurately represent the number of lifeguards available day-to-day to take shifts,” the council said.

He continues his recruiting efforts and advises those interested that they could receive a starting salary of $30.81 per hour for the summer. They then receive an additional 12% on top of that, in lieu of a benefits package, bringing the pay to $34.51 an hour.

According to the board, that’s about $13 more than a similar position in Toronto would pay.

But the council said part of the problem was being certified. Programs have been reduced or suspended during the pandemic, meaning there has been a years-long delay for those looking to qualify.

Earlier this week, CTV News spoke to an expert about the problem and potential solutions. Read more coverage here.

Richard F. Gandhi