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City of Ballarat finds solutions to staff shortages at its aquatic centres
Through collaboration and integration of staff across departments, the City of Ballarat has found solutions to staff shortages at its aquatic centres.
While no aquatic facility was an exposure site, the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre (BALC), along with the outdoor pools across Ballarat, experienced a major shortage of staff, including customer experience and lifeguard staff, shortly after Christmas due to the impact of COVID-19 testing and isolation requirements.
Black Hill, Brown Hill and Buninyong outdoor pools were closed while remaining staff were redirected to their busiest pools – the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre and Eureka Pool – to ensure water safety for patrons.
This week, the centre continued to face staffing shortages, however BALC Manager Gerald Dixon said more staff are now starting to return to work, which has led to the reopening of the Buninyong Pool today and the Black Hill Pool will reopen next week.
Dixon advises “it’s exciting to reopen these pools to our community. We’re also working hard to ensure Brown Hill Pool is reopened in the coming weeks.”
Dixon said staffing has been a major issue for the entire aquatic sector and noted “all aquatic centres in Victoria have been hit with staff shortages because staff were getting tested or tested positive to COVID.
“Some facilities have been closing their doors and others have been closing their outdoor pools. At one point our lifeguard workforce had reduced by 35%.”
Dixon said he’s proud of how his team tackled the challenges of the past few weeks adding “It’s really been a fantastic collaboration and integration of staff across departments to find solutions to bridge the gaps.
“We had staff coming together to help out. People rose above and beyond in challenging circumstances and it’s been really great to see.”
Dixon said it’s also been heartening to see an outpouring of support from the community.
“There was a lot of appreciation from the community. We were trying and doing our best to stay open.”
Image courtesy City of Ballarat
10th January 2022 - Lifeguard shortage and storm force ongoing closures of Ballarat pools
8th January 2022 - Poor adult swimming skills contribute to summer drownings
8th January 2022 - Noosa Aquatic Centre reopens after COVID scare
31st December 2021 - Staff shortages lead to pool closures at Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre
27th December 2021 - Campaspe Shire Council closes pools due to lifeguard shortage
16th November 2021 - Lifeguard shortages create reopening challenges for Victoria’s seasonal pools
19th April 2021 - Study shows aquatic centres struggling to recruit and retain lifeguards
17th March 2020 - City of Ballarat closes aquatic and cultural buildings
9th May 2013 - Ballarat leisure operations allowed to reopen
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