Surrey’s eight outdoor pools are set to open for the season on staggered dates over a six-week period, starting Monday (May 16).
First to open this year are three pools, at Bear Creek, Greenaway and Sunnyside, followed by Hjorth Road on June 4. Surrey’s four other outdoor pools will open June 25, at Kwantlen, Holly, Port Kells and Unwin.
“Most pools are opening between one week and one month earlier this year, to align with the school schedule and to provide additional swim opportunities for the community,” city hall says in a news release.
Admission is free for public swimming on a first-come, first-serve basis. Lane swimming is again available this year, and Red Cross swimming lessons are available for a fee.
Surrey’s outdoor pools are managed by a contractor, Tide’s Out Swimming, with pool locations, swim times and other details posted to tidesout.com and also surrey.ca/outdoorpools.
As for Surrey’s indoor pools, the city’s “Return to Recreation” plan involved the March 29 reopening of Newton’s popular wave pool, which had been closed for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reopening offered limited hours of pool operation “due to a lifeguard staff shortage,” the city’s website noted.
Elsewhere, South Surrey’s indoor pool remains closed, as the last of Surrey’s five indoor pools still shut down. This is due to “a shortage of lifeguards, swim instructors, and aquafit instructors,” according to a post on the city’s website.
“We are working hard to get back to capacity to reopen all pools back to regular hours and offer more swimming lessons and aquatic programs. We appreciate your patience and understanding while we hire and train additional staff.”
Lifeguard recruitment is a challenge in Surrey, according to Laurie Cavan, Surrey’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture. In March, she said that prior to 2020, Surrey’s indoor pools employed close to 500 aquatic staff. With 300 on the job as of March, she said, there was a staff shortage of around 200.
The city’s website outlines “all of the steps for people to become lifeguards, the courses needed, and that could include people of any age,” Cavan said. “At any point in life it can be a good job. We also need the people to teach the courses.”