The Shuswap Recreation Society is looking to add a climbing wall to the Salmon Arm pool similar to the one at the Revelstoke Aquatic Centre. (David Gonella/Revelstoke Aquatic Centre/Youtube image)

The Shuswap Recreation Society is looking to add a climbing wall to the Salmon Arm pool similar to the one at the Revelstoke Aquatic Centre. (David Gonella/Revelstoke Aquatic Centre/Youtube image)

A pair of play features in the works for Salmon Arm swimming pool

Increased use and need for lifegaurds contributing to capacity issues

The Shuswap Recreation Society is looking to bring back one popular play item and introduce another at the Salmon Arm pool.

Since last fall users of the city pool, including fans of the popular rope swing, have had to make do without the diving board. Recreation society general manager Darby Boyd explained the diving board was removed after it was found to have developed a crack.

The effort to replace the board was put on hold when it was discovered the structure that held it was also due for replacement.

“Our maintenance staff looked at the structure around the diving board and there was corrosion and fatigued metal,” said Boyd, adding it’s believed the structure was original to the pool. “So it was a 35-year-old diving board.”

Boyd said a replacement for the diving board/structure is in the budget for this year.

“We had an engineer in this morning to look at a couple of things that we’d have to do,” said Boyd, explaining everything that happens on a pool has to approved by Interior Health.

In addition to the diving board, Boyd said there’s another new item being looked at: a climbing wall, similar to the one at the Revelstoke Aquatic Centre only with two sections, one for younger climbers and one for teens and older climbers.

“So it’s right on the edge of the pool, it hangs out over the edge of the pool,” said Boyd. “That’s kind of the one we’re leaning towards. Once again, the engineering side of it has to be approved first.”

A lack of these features hasn’t kept people from coming to the pool. Boyd believes more people have been using the recreation facility as well as attending events at Shaw Centre.

“People are coming back – they want to get out and they want to do things,” said Boyd. “I mean, look at the Silverbacks’ attendance. They did 1,800 fans two weeks ago and they haven’t’ done 1,800 fans in five to 10 years.

“Our user groups are busier and busier. They’ve got more kids, they’ve got more people involved, so I think the numbers, the demand from the public is there.”

A downside to this for the pool is staffing and capacity. Boyd said there is a need for lifeguards, especially during the day.

“Our part-time staff is typically made up of a combination of high-school students… and then more senior staff, they would be available during the day more so,” said Boyd, explaining most of the senior staff moved on during Covid.

The pool’s size, the need for lifeguards and the increasing number of users are creating challenges around capacity. However, the city is in the process of hiring part-time lifeguards.

“We’re constantly training – we run training programs quite regularly through the year,” said Boyd. “Our dilemma is trying to get people that are available during the day to come back to it. The training is fairly extensive, they have to take two or three courses and then they re-certify… so it takes some time. If you’re new to it, it could take you a year depending on the timing of courses and stuff like that… It’s just timing and trying to draw people back to the industry.”

Boyd added the need for lifeguards is currently a challenge for pools across North America.

Regardless, the pool continues to be open Monday to Sunday. Schedules for the pool and Shaw Centre are available at salmonarmrecreation.ca, as is the Winter 2023 Fun Guide.

Read more: Salmon Arm gets look at new rec centre options

Read more: Salmon Arm pool/rec centre design puts price at more than $45 million


lachlan@saobserver.net
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