Calling All Lifeguards
As we all know, the TDSB had decided to close down 23 pools in the Toronto District school board this year, including our very own, in hopes of saving 4 million dollars. The 4-million was expected to go to other school programs, such as English as a Second Language, and to cover up any budget shortfalls.
In the rashness of their decision, the TDSB also laid off numerous lifeguards, crushing any chances of saving the pools. With high spirits to prevent these disastrous results, NT students took the time and effort to go out and protest at the trustee meetings.
Now the tide has turned. Over the period of our summer vacation, the TDSB has reconsidered and decided in our favour—the pools have been reopened!
“The government has heard us!” says a thrilled member of the swim team. Former mayor David Crombie wrote a convincing letter to the TDSB chair John Campbell regarding the pool funding. In his letter he mentioned some of the community corporations that offered assistance in funding, such as the YMCA of Greater Toronto, the Lifesaving Society, Red Cross, the Toronto Community Foundation and many more. In this letter he also proposed
establishing a volunteer Aquatics... Working Group (AWG) in order to take over tasks such as completing inventories of pools for public uses, making recommendations regarding the needs and improvements of the pools, and working towards setting up a permanent situation to the funding.
With the pool reopened (in fact it was never drained in August) only one question remains. What are we waiting for? The current problem: the lack of lifeguards. Many of the former lifeguards had either found additional positions in the TDSB system or had gone on and found other work. So the board is now working toward pulling in more lifeguards willing to work within the system. Job offers have been put forth for any interested candidates. If a qualified lifeguard is found, then the school board sends the candidate to the individual schools. After that, the school completes the process with their private interviews.
However, with 23 schools all scrambling to find a suitable lifeguard in the next 2 weeks before the start of the swim season, it is understandable why the process is taking so long. Just for North Toronto students’ information, right now, underneath our feet, in the basement, there is a freshly cleaned and heated pool with a hit of chlorine waiting for us to jump right in. We’re all ready to go.
Swimmers rejoice! After spending a summer worrying whether or not we’d ever see our beloved birdbath again, we know have a pool. With the hiring of NT’s latest lifeguard, Yelena Ivanova, it looks like our aquatics programs can now (legally...) run again.
No more will we be deprived of our cockroach-ridden changerooms, salt-encrusted showers and sludge-covered pool deck. Dust off your goggles, sew up the holes in your suits, and shake the moths out of your towels. As for the rest of the school, prepare to be conquered by the reek of chlorine. Or, better yet, join your water-loving friends in NT’s fittest, greatest, and soggiest team.