North Cowichan not offering lifeguard services this summer amid COVID-19

North Cowichan not offering lifeguard services this summer amid COVID-19
Cowichan Valley Regional District
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, North Cowichan has decided not to offer lifeguard services at three outdoor facilities this summer.

If you’re visiting an outdoor lake in the North Cowichan area this summer, don’t expect to see a lifeguard on duty.

The Municipality of North Cowichan has decided to not provide lifeguard services due to the ongoing health risks presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an effort to minimize risk to the public and to staff, there will be no lifeguards at Arbutus Park and Fuller Lake Park in the summer of 2020.

The other location that will be affected is Crofton Outdoor Pool. Without a lifeguard, Crofton Outdoor Pool is not allowed to operate due to requirements outlined by The Lifesaving Society and, therefore, will remain closed for the duration of this summer.

According to North Cowichan, The Lifesaving Society is currently working on developing enhanced training protocols for lifeguards for rescue training, first aid, and use of personal protective equipment during COVID-19.

These protocols would need to be met in order for lifeguards to be present at any indoor or outdoor swimming location. North Cowichan is anticipating that even if procedures were finalized in the near future, training and implementing them is not realistic within the timeframe of this summer.

“These decisions have been difficult,” said North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring.  “We recognize how important the pool is to parents in Crofton. However, the timelines simply don’t work for that facility.  As for the decision not to have lifeguards at Fuller Lake, we’ve had to take a proactive role in protecting our staff as we continue to deal with COVID-19. I want to remind parents to take extra care in supervising their children while using Fuller Lake Park this summer.”

Without any lifeguard supervision, the municipality is urging the public to take extra caution and remain vigilant when supervising children. The Cowichan Valley Regional District added that they are recommending the use of a personal floatation device, like a lifejacket, where necessary.

North Cowichan said there is a permanent portable aquatic life ring at Fuller Lake to be used in case of emergencies. Additionally, there will be a lifejacket loaner station available at Fuller Lake, according to the municipality.

A lifejacket station will not be available at Arbutus Park.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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