Lifeguards needed to keep aquatic centre alive

The new operators of the aquatic centre are struggling to get enough staff for the extended operating hours required by the Town Council last week.
Rob Heinjus, of the Adelaide based firm Casa Leisure, says he hopes permanent residents will show more interest in becoming lifeguards to make making the $19m facility work.
Around 12 of them are needed during the summer season, and three to four when only the indoor pool is in operation.
It’s hard to operate with itinerants such as backpackers or short-term visitors, he says.
The firm is complying with the current council contract which allows the closure of the outdoor pool on weekdays during the middle of the day, when patronage is low. The indoor pool is open daily from 6am to 7pm.

Under the present contract the outdoor 50 meter pool, on weekdays, is open from 6am to 9am and from 3pm to 7pm.

It is open from 9am to 7pm on weekends, public holidays and school holidays.

Councillors, supporting a motion by Cr Eli Melky, last Monday voted to keep also the 50m outdoor pool open all day, daily (from 6am weekdays, from 9am weekends and holidays).

Cr Melky concurred with Mayor Damien Ryan, who described the daily closure of the outdoor pool as “absolutely silly” and needing fixing, the sooner the better. Mayor Ryan, directing his comments to Council’s Director of Technical Services Greg Buxton, said he did not see it as his job to read every tender in detail. He was amazed about the hours and they had never been discussed in the council chamber.
The contract sum will now need to be modified to take account of the extra hours.

Mr Buxton estimated the additional cost at $60,000 p.a.
Mr Heinjus says in other regional centres, Year 11 and 12 and university students are happy to work on weekends and holidays, earning between $20 and $25 an hour.
But in Alice Springs it seems there is plenty of other work.
He says the firm will run a lifesaving course next month, free of charge to participants.
Another option would be a fly-in, fly-out arrangement for a limited period.

Photo: The indoor pool of the aquatic center (courtesy Town Council).

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3 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Withheld
    Posted September 27, 2012 at 8:11 am

    It is not a lifeguard’s job to supervise individuals’ children. The lifeguard is responsible for an entire pool of people and education of those people. Parents must take responsibility for their children. Unfortunately in Alice this is not the case.

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  2. Bob Durnan
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    To Kathy (Posted September 24, 2012 at 9:31 am): Fifty years ago both parents didn’t have to work full time to pay rent or mortgages. Many parents today would like nothing more than to be able to go to the pool more often with their kids.

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  3. kathy
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Amazing how kids survived in the 50s and 60s with only one or two lifeguards and their responsible parents, keeping an eye on them in the water.
    Now we are taking the responsibility away for parents and kids, and blaming others for if anything happens in the pool.

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