Staff shortages have forced the Bulkley Valley Regional Pool to reduce its opening hours after Sept. 21.
The facility is expected to reduce its current schedule by about 20 hours when it reopens later this month after a planned closure for maintenance.
The pool needs a team of about 18 people to operate normally in the fall.
Pool manager Tamara Gillis said the facility had only managed to hire a crew of 11 despite a recruitment push at schools and jobs fairs in 2014.
“We feel like we’ve been really pushing it so it’s kind of strange and who knows what the shift is but there’s a shift there and it might just be a lull year,” she said.
Gillis said the pool always experienced high staff turnover because it included a lot of high school students who often left to attend university.
However, she said this would be the first time in the ten years she has worked at the pool that hours had been reduced.
“We’ve never faced this, it always just seems to work out,” said Gillis.
“There have been times and periods of where we were very short-staffed and on occasion you would have to close early one night or something because you just couldn’t get anyone in to work but … this is sort of unprecedented.”
A board meeting was scheduled for Monday, after this newspaper’s deadline, to discuss exactly how much to reduce the pool hours.
Gillis said the new schedule would be arranged to minimize impacts on programs and clubs, such as the Bulkley Valley Otters Swim Club.
She emphasized the reduced hours were intended to be temporary.
In the meantime, Gillis is encouraging local people to apply for a job at the pool.
“It’s just a fun place to work because you are around people and people are generally happy when they are here because they are recreating, they’re having fun,” she said.
Gillis said flexible working hours and part-time shifts made the job well-suited to students or parents.
A recertification course for ex-lifeguards will be held in the last week of September and there will be opportunities for first-time lifeguards to become certified before Christmas.
A Red Cross Water Safety Instructors course will also be held in January for people interested in teaching swimming lessons.
The pool’s new opening hours will be posted on their website at www.bvpool.com by Sept. 19. Available jobs are also listed on the website.
For more information about becoming a lifeguard contact the BV Regional Pool at 250-847-4244.