LOSC members worked out at the Aldergrove outdoor pool on Saturday, Oct. 24 ( Langley Advance Times file)

LOSC members worked out at the Aldergrove outdoor pool on Saturday, Oct. 24 ( Langley Advance Times file)

Extra charge for lifeguard called ‘baffling’ by Langley swim club

Township urged to ease up on swimming fees

Langley Olympians Swim Club (LOSC) head coach Brian Metcalfe calls the Langley Township decision to charge the club extra for lifeguards “absolutely baffling.”

It started in August, he said, when the club, which had lost its practice spaces due to the COVID-19 lockdown, was able to resume practices at the reopened Aldergrove pool.

“They were asking for [us to pay for] two lifeguards and we said we couldn’t afford it,” Metcalfe recalled.

In a compromise, he said one lifeguard is being paid for by the Township, and one by the club.

Metcalfe said the Township has now advised the club it will have to pay for the time of two lifeguards at the Walnut Grove pool when practices resume at that facility, in order to have them temporarily move a bulkhead to make the main pool 50 metres long, which is the Olympic distance.

READ ALSO: Two pools to re-open in Langley Township by January

“It’s absolutely baffling,” Metcalfe said, because swimmers from the Abbotsford chapter of the club can practice in an Abbotsford pool without paying extra for lifeguards.

What’s different, he said, is the Abbotsford pool allows other admissions-paying swimmers to use other parts of the pool during practices, up to a maximum number that is considered safe.

Club volunteer Kristi McIntosh said the extra fees are driving up expenses for families.

For her, the lifeguard surcharge works out to $110 per month extra per child.

Since she has two kids in the club, “I personally have paid an extra $880 for this policy since Aldergrove opened,” McIntosh estimated.

Paying for two lifeguards to move the bulkhead, a job she estimated will take about 20 minutes, will add another $50 a month in costs, McIntosh projected.

“For some people on our team, this is getting to be too much money,” McIntosh warned.

This is really just hitting people too hard.”

What is especially frustrating to Metcalfe is what he sees as a lack of consistent swimming pool policies in the Lower Mainland.

“Every municipality has different rules,” Metcalfe commented.

Some municipalities are taking the same approach to fees that the Township has, while others follow the Abbotsford approach, Metcalfe outlined.

“You’re telling me Abbotsford wants to be unsafe? Vancouver wants to be unsafe?” Metcalfe asked.

Metcalfe said the Township has handed over decision-making to the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), which is jointly operated by both municipalities under the Langley Emergency Program and, he feels, unwilling to consider options.

“It’s been absolutely brutal,” Metcalfe said.

Both Metcalfe and McIntosh noted the Township has received federal Safe Restart Agreement funds that they said could help cover lifeguard costs.

READ MORE: COVID money comes to Langley City and Township

An email McIntosh provided the Langley Advance Times, from Rob Stare, deputy director of recreation programs and services in the Township Parks and Recreation department, said allowing other groups to share the Walnut Grove pool was against the “EOC direction [which] continues to be for no cross-over of groups with 50 maximum in the pool area at a time.”

“Entry to all of our buildings is still very restricted with limited access points, and the suggested multiple points of entry at [Walnut Grove pool] for multiple groups does not fit the operational model and would add additional staffing and cleaning costs that would make it prohibitive at this time.”

Stare said the Township intends to continue charging user groups for a single lifeguard “while TOL continues to carry the cost burden of the second guard.”

“As far as the Federal relief funds, the allocation of those monies will be up to council in how and where it is applied,” Stare stated.

Langley Advance Times has reached out to the Township for comment.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusLangley TownshipSwimming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sources White Rock/South Surrey Food Bank is located at 2356 156 St. (File photo)
Door-to-door canvassers not working on behalf of Sources Food Bank, says manager

Accredited White Rock, South Surrey, Langley food bank does not canvas for donations

Theatre in the Country presents Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde. (TIC/Special to the Aldergrove Star)
Oscar Wilde, Kauffman and Hart, and adult acting classes all happening at Langley theatre

Theatre in the Country continues to showcase Zoom performances while now offering scene studies

Curator Kobi Christian with an exhibit on historic clothing that was on display at the Langley Centennial Museum last February. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley museum gets $75,000 grant

The funding is to go towards improving facilities

On Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, Aldergrove Community Secondary School tweeted out a notice to families that have started receiving text messages about a new information system. (ACSS Twitter feed)
Not spam – Langley School District surprises families with text messages

The district said more information about the new notification system will come soon

Police were called to the scene of 198A Street and 81st Avenue on the evening of Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (Curtis Kreklau/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Possible shots fired on Langley/Surrey border Thursday evening

Police had one vehicle towed and gathered evidence at the scene

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Most Read