The Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre under construction prior to its opening in fall 2018. (File photo)

The Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre under construction prior to its opening in fall 2018. (File photo)

Wages increased for lifeguards at Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre

Wages are going up for lifeguards and other employees at the Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre.

The new wages, thanks to an agreement between the District of Vanderhoof and the YMCA, are intended to address critical staffing shortages and continued challenges with recruiting lifeguards.

Under the new agreement, a lifeguard’s starting wage will be $23.05 per hour and increase over time to $26.82 per hour. This represents a substantial increase over the current starting wage of $17.75 and is done in recognition of the substantial amount of training and certification required for all VAC employees.

“Lifeguarding as a career has incredible value for our community, both in the critical skills and experience gained by lifeguards and the tremendous contribution towards safe, accessible, and inclusive recreation opportunities, especially since we live all around water,” said Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen. “By implementing this much-needed wage increase, we are optimistic that more prospective workers will choose lifeguarding and recreation as a career pathway, and that existing employees at the VAC will receive a wage that recognizes their efforts to keep our modern facility open to the public.”

A statement said both the district and YMCA are optimistic that the risk of future facility closures due to staffing shortages will be limited. To finance this increase, the District has agreed to a 10 per cent increase in user fees at the VAC, which the district said is the first of its kind since the pool opened.

Any remaining costs for this increase in 2022 are to be drawn from the COVID-19 council initiatives budget, which is financed by the province’s COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant. Costs for future years are to be reviewed along with other budgetary considerations during the annual budget process.