Lifeguards, or not?
Two visions of how the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] should operate its pool this coming swim season appear headed for a showdown during the Board of Director’s Thursday, February 25 Work Session.
During the Thursday, February 11 SLLA Open Meeting, President Chuck Leach reminded landowners that the Recreation Committee had been assigned the task of coming up with new rules for pool operations.
“It is the Board’s intention to open the pool for longer hours for the use of all residents,” Leach said. “Lifeguards are extremely difficult to obtain and maintain throughout the season.”
“This Board was adamant, for reasons of liability, in not combining the use of lifeguards and pool assistants. Management is only developing a salary guide for our future pool assistants.”
Leach noted that recommendations are due from the Recreation Committee at the February 25 Work Session.
Though a fully formed plan for management of the pool has not been laid out or voted on by the Board, Leach previously presented a Powerpoint presentation indicating a desire to have the pool open from May 1 to September 30, possibly from 6:30 am to 9:00 pm — and to eliminate lifeguards entirely.
Access to the pool would apparently be controlled through the use of attendants during some hours of operation and, during other times, an electronic card access system. That system has been discussed in general terms in Board meetings, but its cost has not been revealed, nor has the Board voted to purchase and install it.
The Recreation Committee has already recommended utilizing lifeguards during those parts of the extended schedule when the pool is likely to be most heavily used — particularly by children — e.g., 11:00 am-4:00 pm or Noon to 5:00 pm during Summer school vacation.
It appears the Committee will stick with that recommendation — not the least because a number of community members have expressed a desire to have lifeguards at least part time.
“Because of feedback from the community, we are continuing to also explore the compromise of having lifeguards from Noon to 5:00 pm,” Recreation Committee Chairman Bob Racine said during the Open Meeting. “We will be presenting that to the Board.”
He noted that the Committee had received input from Northsider Ed Hill, who managed the pool and lifeguards in 2009.
“We just thought we’d re-investigate it and bring back some more light,” Racine said. “Our primary concern is safety at the pool, not trying to cut costs.”
During the Public Comment period of the meeting, Recreation Committee member Bob Miller asked whether the Board had already made the decision not to have lifeguards.
“Recreation has spent hour and hours with the anticipation that our recommendations would be taken seriously,” he added.
President Leach said the Board’s determination to do away with lifeguards was made clear in a Powerpoint presentation delivered during the January Open Meeting.
“But that was done before you saw the outpouring of support for lifeguards from the people,” Miller replied. “A lot of people feel we need lifeguards.”
Of eleven who spoke during that meeting, ten favored having lifeguards during at least a portion of the day. Others have written letters to the editor asking for the same.
Miller said that even though he, personally, saw no need for lifeguards “I am responding to the community, and it is obvious to me and others that there is a strong demand for this. It seems inappropriate for the Board to disregard that.”
Leach repeated that “the Board is adamantly opposed to a combination of assistants and lifeguards.”
Greg Hankins, speaking as a landowner and not as the editor of the Seven Lakes Times, asked how the Board could be adamantly opposed to something it had not voted on. He asked if any minutes were available that showed that the Board had already made a decision on the issue of lifeguards.
Leach did not indicate that a vote had taken place.
Hankins suggested that having an untrained, unqualified assistant manning the pool, should a drowning occur, would subject the Association to greater liability than having a trained, certified lifeguard on duty.
Leach said that was not the advice that he had received.
The Board is expected to receive and discuss the Recreation Committee’s report during their Work Session on Thursday, February 25 at 9:00 am. Public comment is allowed during that meeting.
A final vote could come during the Thursday, March 3 Open Meeting.