PLEASE NOTE – THIS IS AN ARCHIVED ARTICLE AND MAY NOT REPRESENT CURRENT INFORMATION.
When I write these news articles, updates, etc. I am usually just trying to either give straight news or explain policies. Sometimes I attempt to explain the boards thoughts on a subject or outline our decisions. In this article I am going to break away from that and try to explain some of the things the board will be faced with as we start to look at an issue which has caused a bit of a stir here in Almond Glen. I want to generate a little bit of conversation so that we (the board of directors) can really examine all of our options and consider the wants, needs, opinions of our membership as we proceed.
The issue I am speaking of is of course, the lifeguards. As a part of our contract with Aquatech, the pool management company we use, we employ two lifeguards whenever the pool is open. Many have asked why we must have the lifeguards. I am going to quickly outline some of the reasons we have lifeguards and why we may or may not drop the lifeguard contract in the future.
1. Lifeguards may save a life. Not everyone who uses the pool is prepared to deal with an emergency. Not all parents watch their children and are responsible. Not everyone knows CPR, rescue swimming, signs of water distress, and emergency scene management. Lifeguards… Even the 16year olds we often have at the pool… Get this training and may be the difference between life and death. It’s hard to vote against the lifeguards knowing that you will have to accept at least a feeling of responsibility if someone drowns or dies from a heart attack and it might have been avoided.
2. Lifeguards enforce rules. Our pool needs rules. We have members, guests, and uninvited pool crashers who use our pool. The lifeguards are responsible for enforcing the rules. In the past there has been a hit and miss enforcement of rules at the pool. We will be working with Aquatech to ensure the lifeguards know the rules, know how we want the rules enforced, and have resources to enforce the rules. If we do not have rules and measures to enforce those rules we are opening ourselves up to serious liability.
3. Lifeguards open and close the pool, check chemicals, ensure we have the repairs and equipment needed, take out the trash, put the pool furniture up for the night and out in the morning, check the bathrooms, etc. All of these things must be done in order to make the pool enjoyable. These are just some of the additional duties the lifeguards cover.
The downside of the lifeguards…
1. Lifeguards are expensive. At this time we do not have exact quotes showing the difference between a contract with and without lifeguards… But typically the number one cost in the pool contract is chemicals. The second highest cost is lifeguards. Obviously we could save money if we didn’t have lifeguards.
2. If the lifeguards aren’t on duty, the pool is closed. We could leave the gates unlocked all of the time and just let anyone swim whenever they want if we didn’t have a lifeguard policy.
These are just a few of the pros and cons. As of today (10/02/2013) our pool is registered as a Type E swimming pool. We are looking at ways to get a reevaluation done in an effort to argue that our pool is not a Type E… But for now we are locked in. Type E pools require a lifeguard. We have a pool that is big enough to require 2 lifeguards. As of now the board of directors can not vote to drop the lifeguard contract due to our pool classification.
With all of the talk about lifeguards and our pool hours the board of directors would like you to know we recognize this issue and will be talking about it as we prepare for the 2014 pool season.
One thing we can not do is restrict the use of the pool to adults only… Even during certain times of the day or during “extra” hours. While that might seem like a wonderful idea when first mentioned… further examination of laws, lawsuits, and court decisions reveal that it is a very bad idea to restrict people based on age.
The following in an excerpt from some court decisions on the matter.
“Except for senior community pools, associations cannot prohibit children from using swimming pools, establish adults-only pools, or establish adults-only times. In Llanos v. Coehlo, a federal court found that the association’s rules designating “family pools” and “adult areas” in the complex and prohibiting children from playing in and around adult areas of the complex were discriminatory and violated the Fair Housing Act. (Also see U.S. v. Plaza Mobile Estates.)
A similar decision was reached by a federal court in the unpublished case of Landesman v. Keys Condominiums. The association’s reason for restricting children from the main pool was that adults enjoyed using the pool for lap swimming and they preferred the relative tranquility of a swimming pool not filled with active, noisy children. Although sympathetic, the court ruled against the association.
The court is not unsympathetic to the concerns of the adult residents who want to be able to enjoy the pool in peace, but finds that plaintiffs have nonetheless established a prima facie case of discrimination and that The Keys Association has not articulated a legitimate justification for excluding children from the main pool. . . . If this were a case of a homeowners association allowing everyone to use the main pool at all available hours in the summer, with the exception of women, or persons born in Iraq or China, or members of the Episcopal Church, such restrictions would be equally unlawful as the restrictions on access by children. . . . Any problems The Keys Association believes are caused by noise or activity of certain children should be taken up with the parents or guardians of those children.”
Read more: Pool Discrimination http://www.davis-stirling.com/tabid/1232/Default.aspx#ixzz2gZWUzNV9
I will try to keep everyone informed as we get more information and begin to make the decisions. In the meantime I suggest you speak with committee members, neighbors, and board members if you have a strong opinion regarding this or any other issue in the neighborhood.