One more vote, scheduled for this Thursday, will do away with lifeguards at the Northside swimming pool for the coming swim season.

During their Thursday, February 25 Work Session, the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board of Directors voted to forward to the next Open Meeting President Chuck Leach's motion "to authorize management to obtain a pool manager and attendants for the 2016 season."

The Open Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 3, at 7:00 pm.

During the Work Session, Director Bob Racine presented the Recreation Committee's recommendation that the Board continue to employ lifeguards from noon to 5:00 pm during the Summer school vacation, while extending pool hours from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. 

The pool would be operated on a "swim at your own risk" basis during  hours when no lifeguard is present.

The Recreation Committee proposed reserving 6:00 am – 8:30 am for adult only swim, with water aerobics from 8:30 am to 9:15 am. Swim lessons would be offered from 9:30 am to 11:30 am and the pool would be closed for maintenance from 11:30 am 'til Noon.

Lifeguards would be employed from Noon to 5:00 pm. At 5:00 pom, the pool area would be cleared, as lifeguards were replaced by pool attendants, who would remain on duty from 5:15 pm to 9:00 pm.


Schedule too complicated

Leach, who has been a consistent opponent of retaining lifeguards, objected that the proposed schedule was too complicated.

"I ran into someone at McDonald's who said you need a roadmap to to decide when you can take your kid to the pool," he said.

Leach argued that it is very difficult to acquire and manage lifeguards — and that employing them only five hours per day would make that task even more difficult.

He also argued against having lifeguards on a part time basis, "for reasons of accountability." Previously, Leach has argued that having lifeguards during only a portion of the day would increase the Association's liability in case of an accident. He has also argued that the Association bears more liability risk with lifeguards than without lifeguards.

Barbara Keating, who served as SLLA pool manager during the 2013 and 2014 swim seasons, urged the Board to continue to utilize lifeguards at the pool.

"During the peak time, when all the kids are out of school, when they are at the pool with their parents, or sometimes without their parents, lifeguards are needed there not just for the safety, but also for  supervision," she said. 

"When a little kid is running across the pool, and we blow the whistle and say 'Walk.' When they are standing on the Do Not Dive sign and they go diving in. When they cut themselves, and we are administering band-aids and peroxide."

"When an elderly gentleman slipped on the ladder, and he was on coumadin, and he was bleeding profusely, we were able to call 9-1-1 and bandage him up until he was serviced by the paramedics."

"I'm expressing my concern as a former manager and lifeguard," Keating concluded, "that we need lifeguards."


Too little community outcry

Racine's motion to adopt the Recreation Committee's proposal for managing the pool with lifeguards at peak swim periods died for lack of a second.

Leach then made his motion to proceed without lifeguards, essentially taking the matter out of the hands of the Recreation Committee and turning it over to management.

That motion passed with Leach, Sandy Sackmann, and Mark Gyure in favor, Racine opposed, and Greg Lishawa abstaining. Mark Widman was absent from the meeting.

Lishawa said he had seen little public interest in the matter, compared, for instance, to previous outcry generated by issues surrounding the stables.

"At one point, several years ago, when they talked about closing the stables," Lishawa said, "we had over a hundred people show up at a meeting, and they took that it off the table. I don't see that happening with the swimmers."

"If the silent majority doesn't say anything," Guyure said, "we have to assume that they could care less."


What next?

In earlier meetings, Leach had offered a presentation suggesting that the Board would use a combination of an electronic credentialing system and pool attendants to open the pool from May through September, from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.

The details of that — including the cost and administration of the credentialing system — have yet to be worked out, and Board approval will be required for purchase of that system.

Leach said that he and the SLLA's new Community Manager would work out the details, assuming that his motion to utilize only attendants is approved at the March 3 Open Meeting.


Extending the perimeter fence

Also during their Thursday, February 25 Work Session, the Board agreed to extended the community's perimeter fence along the north side of Seven Lakes Drive at its eastern end, near the intersection with Carthage Road. 

Nine sections of fence will be added, in order to protect a new home on Cardinal Lane and prevent unauthorized entry into the community by ATVs and dirt bikes. Split rail fencing, removed when the pasture fence was replaced, will be utilized.


Moved to Open Meeting

Also during their Thursday, February 25 Work Session, the SLLA Board moved to the March 3 Open Meeting for a final decision:

• Approval of a $7,349 contract with Atlantic Pyrotechnics for Fourth of July fireworks.

• Approval of a revision to Section of the Rules and Regulations that redefines an Association "member." Couples legally married at the time the Seven Lakes property was acquired are both "members" regardless of whether both names appear on the deed. In the case of couples not married when the property was acquired, only the individual whose name appears on the deed is a member.

• Approval of a revision to Section that defines "affiliate member" as spouses not named on the deed, as well as children of a member residing in the home.

• Establishing an Equestrian Club, through the Recreation Committee, with the mission to "propose, promote, and support the approved activities of the Seven Lakes Equestrian Center Stables."

• Approval of a fee schedule that eliminates the barcode discount for Seven Lakes Golf and Seven Lakes Health & Fitness, standardizing the fee for most non-members to $15 initially, with a $5 renewal fee. The fee for a golf cart sticker will be raised from $3 to $10.


Other Business

In other business:

• The Board discussed but rejected a proposal to assign the SLLA President the task of counting proxy ballots following the close of voting. Director Racine explained that the vote counting committee will count the number of proxies assigned to the Board, and the Board will meet prior to the Annual Meeting to determine how to vote those proxies.

• President Leach announced that the current SLLA document retention policy is being reviewed for conformance to the NC Planned Community Act and state statutes. Once that review is complete, the policy will be brought to a future Work Session. The current policy ignited a controversy when it was used as a rational for not releasing the proposed FY2107 budget to the membership prior to the Board's vote to approve it.

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