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Rossland pool to operate this year, but long-term unknown

Rossland council has approved enough funding to fix and operate the city’s outdoor pool this spring and summer, but the facility’s long-term future remains a question to be addressed during a recreation planning process.

An engineering report last year found the pool potentially requires millions of dollars worth of repairs, but for now council has approved $32,000 for short-term fixes and $15,000 for maintenance and wages.

Recreation manager Kristi Calder says the city is about to begin work on a recreation master plan that will look at all of the city’s recreation facilities and programs. Staff recommended to council that they put off any decisions about big spending on the pool until that process is completed in 2023.

“It will involve quite a bit of public input as to the public’s priorities for recreation facilities and their spending threshold for their taxation,” Calder says.

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The pool will continue to operate in the meantime, provided they can find staff and no serious structural issues are encountered. However, they don’t know yet what their hours will be like this year.

“We’re reaching out to former staff and starting to post the positions that will be available,” Calder says. “We’re just preparing for the season and hopefully we can get enough qualified staff. If not, we may have to see a reduction in hours or service levels.”

Finding qualified lifeguards is a challenge, she adds, and not just for seasonal outdoor pools like theirs, but for indoor pools, and the problem is the same across BC, Canada, and North America. The number of lifeguards is limited, a situation that existed even pre-COVID. But the pandemic made things worse, as it resulted in the cancellation of certification courses.

Calder says they will know in April if we have to adjust their hours. She says the pool is a particularly good place for students/youth to work. To learn about job opportunities, contact [email protected].

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