What is happening?
The City of London usually operates 12 outdoor pools, 4 indoor pools, 13 wading pools and 12 spray pads. The indoor and outdoor pools require fees. Financial assistance is also available to help cover the cost of fees.
This year, city staff have decided to close six wading pools because, despite their best efforts, they have not been able to hire enough qualified lifeguards. The wading pools were evaluated based on past usage and the distance to the closest alternative aquatic facility.
The two wading pools in Ward 4 that have been closed are Smith (194 Brampton Road) and McMahen (640 Adelaide St N).
Given the difficulties encountered hiring qualified life guards, some reduction in service is necessary. I have been in touch with management in aquatics to try to find an alternative solution that would be more equitable.
What are the alternatives to Smith or McMahen?
Northeast pool is the closest alternative wading pool for both locations. Smith is 900 metres from Northeast; McMahen is 2,700 metres from Northeast. Silverwood pool (36 Sycamore St, East of Egerton) may be closer for some folks who use McMahen Park.
Why can't they find enough qualified lifeguards?
The basic qualifications for a wading pool lifeguard are to have at all times current: Standard First Aid w/ CPR C, Bronze Cross or higher, Red Cross Assistant Water Safety Instructor or higher, Vulnerable Persons Police Screening. Management has done a number of things differently this year to try to recruit a sufficient number of qualified lifeguards. Despite those efforts, the city has not been able to hire enough lifeguards.
What can I do?
- Please consider posting on social media about the need for qualified lifeguards, as hiring additional qualified lifeguards will make the biggest impact at this point.
UPDATE on 6 July: the city has posted a new job posting for lifeguards.
- If you oppose the total closure of these six wading pools, including the two in Ward 4, please add your name to this petition.
- There is also a community-organized protest at 3:30pm on Sunday, 5 July at McMahen Park. See the Facebook event for more details. I will be attending.
What about future years?
The challenge of recruiting qualified lifeguards is likely to be an ongoing issue. It may require changes to our recruiting and promotion efforts and/or wages.
In the longer term, as has been noted by residents, these closures highlight the need for a spray pad South of Ed Blake Park and West of Kiwanis Park.
If you would like to contact me directly, about this or any other issue, please email me at [email protected] or call me at 226-268-7536.