Staff shortage holds up pool opening

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2012

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A shortage of qualified staff has been blamed for the delayed opening to the season at Twizel's swimming pool.

The pool was expected to open early last month in time for the summer holidays, but Mackenzie District Council community facilities manager Garth Nixon said it had struggled to find suitably qualified supervisors.

"It's a problem that councils are facing everywhere. There is definitely a shortage of qualified people to supervise swimming pools. Also, rural districts such as ours don't necessarily get the students signing up, as the job is only for a few months," he said.

Mr Nixon said after extending the application time, the council had managed to find someone suitably qualified to fill the roles of supervisor and lifeguard over the summer, and the pool would open on December 17.

"The season is likely to run until early March. Obviously, we would be interested in anyone else who wanted to help over the busy period after Christmas," he said.

The town has a resident population of about 2000, but that figure more than trebles over the summer. Meanwhile, Strathconnan Pool in Fairlie has been open since October, with several locals participating in a training course to get them qualified as teachers for the new season.

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- The Timaru Herald

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