Counting down to the return of splashdown

The outdoor facilities of the Payette Public Pool, as pictured on Tuesday. Payette recreation director Tiffany Weimar said facility inspections and lifeguard training are in progress, ahead of a tentative reopening next month.

PAYETTE — Ever since COVID-19 led to the shutdown of the Payette Public Swimming Pool in late March 2020, citizens have been asking city officials when they plan to reopen the facility. At the Payette City Council’s regular meeting Monday evening, recreation director Tiffany Weimar sought to answer that question.

During her presentation, Weimar stated she aims to reopen the pool in May. In the meantime, however, she told the council that there’s still much to do.

“I’m a certified pool operator now,” said Weimar. “That means we can get an inspector to come in actually sign off on the inspection.”

A safety inspection remains due before any of the staff may even enter the pool water, in order for staff to fully train.

“Right now, we’re not allowed to even get into the pool without that inspection passed, because we’re liable for a lot of things,” noted Weimar.

Weimar aims to have the facility inspected by Southwest District Health within a week.

While she and a handful of her pool staff have had lifeguard training, this is not the only training they must complete. Weimar has five guards certified, but aims to train a total of 10 to start.

“I’ve been in contact with the Nampa [Recreation Center] aquatics director, and we’re working on getting a lifeguard instructor course, meaning that I will get certified to be able to certify lifeguards,” Weimar added. “That will allow us to have a little more flexibility and incorporate more lifeguard training throughout the whole summer and the winter.”

Weimar said the reason for wanting 10 guards is not knowing how high employee turnover rates may be upon reopening, and to allow for coverage of any staff absences.

“If it’s me I’ll be able to facilitate more trainings, meaning more trainings in case the turnover rate is [high].”

 For now, Weimar expressed gladness to find the facility’s existing pool operator binder still housed at the facility. However, she noted, it does need updating for 2021.

“There’s not quite enough information on there in case an accident happens at the pool; It should have that kind of information on what steps we need to take and there’s nothing quite like that , same with emergency planning, that sort of thing. I would like to have that in there just in case something happens and [staff say], ‘We don’t know what to do and boss lady doesn’t have service and she’s camping!’”

Weimar expressed that she aims to get the facility into the best condition she can for its reopening.

“I’m totally new at this and I want to make sure that everything’s perfect,” she said.

Weimar is also working on resuming civic programs at the pool, and said she aims to take into account when and how many people use the pool to determine operating hours at the facility.

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