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Ward 8 - Evan Woolley

ID: 84


Title: Saving $4,000,000 Annually

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COCShortDescription: I've drafted a Notice of Motion to keep the number of lifeguards static and save $4 million annually.

COCDescription: <p>The City of Calgary is faced with a challenging economic climate and we must ensure that we are using citizens' money effectively. This means we have to make tough choices around what the City can and can't afford to do. According to Alberta legislation regarding swimming pools, operators must follow best practices. Calgary has been operating safe pools for decades, using a 75:1 bather-to-lifeguard ratio as a guideline. In fact, Calgary has been exceeding what best practices have called for at a number of facilities. Most Calgary pools operate at around a 50:1 ratio, according to the Recreation department. The Lifesaving Society recently changed its' ideal ratio to 40:1. It's important to ask where this change came from. The Lifesaving Society Alberta Executive Director has stated that the change was not based off research and that it was achieved by amalgamating different standards across Canada, the United States, and Europe. Recreation has calculated that to meet these standards they would need to hire 45 new lifeguards. The resulting cost would be approximately $4,000,000 per year, which works out to about $89,000 per year per lifeguard (full-time equivalences).</p> <p>That is $4,000,000 annually to solve a problem that does not exist. Since 1991, only five deaths have occurred at Calgary pools. <a href="" target="_blank">One study out of the United States </a>looked at 140 drowning deaths over eight years and found that the median bather to lifeguard ratio was 13:1. If people are drowning with 13:1 ratios how would 40:1 provide a safe environment? Across Canada, public pool drownings account for 1% of all drowning deaths (around five per year). As noted above, some City of Calgary pools currently operate close to the new proposed ratio of 40:1. There is no ratio put out in any legislation; legislation only calls for following best practices. Throughout the City of Calgary, many business units strive to but do not meet standards for best practices. For example, in some areas of the City, firefighters don't meet the seven minute response time guideline. The Roads department is not able to fully plow every street in the City. Best practices can be seen as something to strive for but in the real world with finite resources we must do the best we can within our means. At a time when Calgarians are tightening their belts and showing financial restraint, the City must do the same.</p> <p>Recreation is wanting to conform to this new ratio of 40:1 to minimize risk and to ensure the safety of Calgarians. However, ratios should not be looked at out of context. In several public inquiries into deaths at pools the ratio was talked about . As noted in the <a href="" target="_blank">2008 Olds inquiry</a>, &quot;The ratio of bathers to lifeguards is important but must be put into context to the scanning zones and what is happening at the pool&quot;; the ratio at the time of death was between 50:1 and 30:1. Deaths can happen with ratios below 10:1. The Royal Lifesaving Society has not provided any peer-reviewed research to back up their new recommended ratio. It is important that the City try to minimize risks where it can. To date there have been no inquiries by Administration regarding why the new ratio is needed or how it was calculated. We are asking that the Lifesaving Society provide us with research and reasons for the ratio change-- something they have not done.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">My notice of motion </a>proposes to save $4,000,000 annually by not hiring additional lifeguards.​</p>

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COCPublishedDate: 2018-12-17 00:00:00

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Tag: Recreation; Budget; City Finances; Councillor’s initiatives

Saving $4,000,000 Annually

December 17, 2018

I've drafted a Notice of Motion to keep the number of lifeguards static and save $4 million annually.

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