Standing on guard

The Greenwood Pool is open Monday through Saturday from noon until 7 p.m.

Lifeguards Shelby Peters and Cees Vanderneit are looking forward to a long hot summer at the Greenwood Public Pool. Qualified guards are in high demand in the West Kootenay/Boundary region.

As the City of Greenwood would attest to, finding qualified lifeguards for its pool is no easy task.

For the first time in years, the city has been unable, at least partly, to staff the facility with home-grown talent, instead having to rely entirely on guards from other parts of the region. This summer, the pool is home to four guards from Midway and a similar number from Grand Forks, and this scenario doesn’t appear to be headed for change anytime soon.

Assistant pool manager Shelby Peters, who was coaxed into staying on for one more season, will herself be leaving the area next summer when she begins university in Calgary, and her departure will leave another large hole for the city to fill.

“We have lost several guards from Greenwood in the past few years, and there don’t appear to be any following in their footsteps,” said Peters. “Becoming a fully qualified lifeguard is also quite expensive, which likely deters many from gaining certification.”

Not only do guards have to pay for initial certification, they also are required to regularly update some of their qualifications, making the profession cost-prohibitive for many. Peters went on to explain that the pool had hoped to host a training program this summer, but it appears unlikely that will eventuate, leaving the Grand Forks Aquatic Centre as the only Boundary facility offering any type of life-guard training.

Joining Peters this summer are fully certified guards Cees Vanderniet, Sarah Heric, Jade Milaney and Sam Taktsang, along with Maddie Baia, Lea Peron and Lucas Peters. Ben Garrison and veteran Diane Lapalme also help out whenever possible.

Asked what they enjoy most about their jobs, both Peters and Vanderniet agreed that teaching youngsters how to swim was what made all their training worthwhile.

The Greenwood Pool is open Monday through Saturday from noon until 7 p.m.


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