Sandy Gauer, president of the Society for Wellness, Instruction and Mobility through Swimming (SWIMS) made a presentation to council at last week’s regular meeting, asking for information to help tune the group’s fundraising objectives.
“We’ve been trying to raise money to keep the pool open longer. One of our stumbling blocks is we don’t really know how much it costs to run it,” Gauer said.
“We have some good ideas about raising money to provide incentives for lifeguards, to add to their salary because their wages aren’t high enough to attract people from out of town.”
Gauer said she felt the current wage was adequate for local high school students filling the positions but that bonuses for employees coming from out of town should be investigated.
“SWIMS would like to help provide something like that and we also would like to look at possibly running training sessions, even outside of the season for maybe school curriculum and also maybe the swim club if the money were there and the lifeguards were there,” she said.
“It would be nice to stretch the amount of training time so that we could grow our own lifeguards.”
Coun. Barbara Wiebe asked for specifics about what SWIMS needed from the District to help with its grant application.
“One thing that would be really helpful would be for us to know what the operation cost is for a week; if we knew what we were trying to raise to extend the season, and again its always assuming we have sufficient lifeguarding, how much would it cost to keep the pool open for another week. And maybe we can grow from there and make our season longer next year,” Gauer replied.
Coun. Jennifer Leach wondered about the feasibility of asking lifeguards currently employed at the pool to extend their employment this season.
Recreation manager Bain Gair said that would likely be a problem.
“If we’re talking about extending the season this year, we are going to have great difficulty because we have only two lifeguards left,” Gair said, adding that a layoff notice has already been issued for one of those staff members.
“There would have to be some paperwork done to change that. I’d have to have a conversation with both guards.”
Gair said one of the lifeguards has plans to return to Salmon Arm to prepare to return to school and he doubts there is much flexibility there.
Gail Madrigga, also a member of SWIMS, spoke up from the public gallery in support of the request for information about operation costs.
“It’s something that would be very helpful to us if we could have the numbers so that when we’re raising money, we know our goal,” Madrigga said.
“We want to increase our usage. In order to do that we need to figure out programs. So, if we can do that by providing equipment to the staff then that’s what we want to do. But we need to know the numbers so that we can raise that money.”
Interim CAO Jason Johnson said staff would see to it that details of the operating costs are provided to SWIMS and also made available to the public.
Leach also requested that staff provide the organization with any possible assistance with its grant-writing process.