Whanganui East Pool to reopen for schools in late January

Published on January 12, 2022

Whanganui East Pool

Maintenance work to prepare the Whanganui East Pool for summer use has now been completed and the pool will reopen on 31 January 2022, in time for school swimming programmes which start in February.

Whanganui District Council’s general manager for property and open spaces, Sarah O’Hagan, says the council and Sport Whanganui have worked hard to get the pool ready and operational for summer, but have had to make the difficult decision to open it for school use only in 2022.

“We were determined to get the pool open for the community and hoped to have it open to the public throughout January and February,” she says, “but the end, staffing has been the one issue we have not been able to solve.”

Splash Centre facility manager Dave Campbell says the council and Sport Whanganui acknowledge the Whanganui East Pool holds a special place in the hearts of many locals. “It’s about the childhood memories they have – the way Whanganui was in the old days. I think we would all like to hold onto the idea of a summer spent at the local outdoor pool, but the reality is that times have changed.”

“The main concern is that we have been really struggling to recruit and retain enough lifeguards to be able to run the pool in a way that is safe and compliant.”

He says, “Sport Whanganui has conducted four recruitment rounds recently. Of the eight staff we were able to recruit, we have one left today.”

Tracey Prince-Puketapu, aquatics programme manager for Recreation Aotearoa says the problem is industry-wide. “Currently facilities here in New Zealand and over in Australia are finding it difficult to hire and retain staff for lifeguard positions. We know that many councils are operating their summer pools at reduced hours or in some cases they haven’t opened them at all because of this shortage.”

“Lifeguards are a vital part in keeping our communities safe in the water,” she says, “And to do this they need to be trained and qualified according to industry standards. We understand and support councils’ decisions to delay opening facilities, as it is integral that they meet the safety standards.”

Dave Campbell says he is still seeking lifeguards. “If you’re responsible, would be interested in the training we offer and enjoy working with people in a recreational environment, give me a call on 027 555 3211.”




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