City council approves $20,000 bump for pool staff

Whitehorse city council has voted unanimously in favour of approving a $20,000 budget increase for the Canada Games Centre pool.

Whitehorse city council has voted unanimously in favour of approving a $20,000 budget increase for the Canada Games Centre pool.

Monday evening’s decision means the aquatic centre will be able to fund an additional 50 lifeguard and instructor hours per week, which it needs to maintain the same public swimming hours this fall as last year.

Last week, the city’s manager of recreation and facility services told council that programming at the pool would be cut unless the funding was approved.

Krista Mroz explained that hours of operation for the leisure pool, lane swimming, sauna, steam room and swirl pool were all under threat of being reduced.

The aquatic centre submitted a request for the funds as part of the 2015 budget process.

The funds were needed for them to keep up with the latest Canadian pool safety standards, which are set by the Lifesaving Society.

One of those standards was the ratio of people to lifeguards at the pool, set at 40 to 1.

The staffing adjustments put other programming at risk of being cut, which is why the funds were needed.

At Monday’s meeting, Councillor Dave Stockdale asked why the funds were denied in the first place.

Mayor Dan Curtis, participating by phone, explained that it came to council’s attention after the budget process had ended.

The aquatic centre is currently closed until Sept. 7 for annual maintenance.

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