To address critical staffing shortages and continued challenges with recruiting lifeguards, the District of Vanderhoof and the YMCA have agreed to increased wages for lifeguards and other employees at the Aquatic Centre. Under the new agreement, a lifeguard’s starting wage will be $23.05 per hour, and increase over time to $26.82 per hour. This represents a substantial increase over the current starting wage of $17.75, and is done in recognition of the substantial amount of training and certification required for all VAC employees.
Mayor Thiessen comments that: “Lifeguarding as a career has incredible value for our community, both in the critical skills and experience gained by lifeguards and the tremendous contribution towards safe, accessible, and inclusive recreation opportunities, especially since we live all around water. By implementing this much needed wage increase, we are optimistic that more prospective workers will choose lifeguarding and recreation as a career pathway, and that existing employees at the VAC will receive a wage that recognizes their efforts to keep our modern facility open to the public.”
By implementing this wage increase, the District and YMCA are optimistic that the risk of future facility closures due to staffing shortages will be limited. As the District finances the VAC’s operations and maintenance, there will be additional costs for this necessary wage increase. To finance this increase, the District has agreed to a 10% increase in user fees at the VAC, the first of its kind since the pool has opened. Any remaining costs for this increase in 2022 will be financed from the COVID-19 Council Initiatives budget, which is financed by the Province’s COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant. Costs for future years will be reviewed along with other budgetary considerations during the annual budget process.