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City of Maple Ridge vows to solve ongoing leisure centre issues

Staffing shortages and hygiene issues have caused numerous service disruptions lately
The Maple Ridge Leisure Centre has experienced dozens of program cancellations over the past year due to staffing and hygiene issues. (The News file)

The City of Maple Ridge has officially addressed the significant number of closures and cancellations at the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre over the past few months.

Stephane Labonne, general manager of parks, recreation, and culture for the city, explained that these persistent issues have been due to a number of factors, and promised that the city is going to help curb these issues in the coming months.

“I, and our team, recognize that this facility is an important part of supporting our community’s health and wellness,” said Labonne. “I want to assure you that we have heard you and take your concerns about disruptions in our service levels seriously.”

“We have had a number of hygiene incidents in the last few weeks that have resulted in closures of pool tanks to ensure that the facility is cleaned and sanitized to protect the health of customers and staff.”

In addition to hygiene issues, Labonne said that staffing shortages have also played a major factor in the recent service disruptions.

“When an aquatics team member calls in sick, this impacts the ratio of customers allowed per lifeguard in the pool to meet provincial safety requirements. As a result, we often have to make decisions on short notice on how we will adjust our scheduled and drop-in programming until we can arrange for a replacement staff member.”

RELATED: Lifeguard shortage hurting seniors the most

Labonne offered several improvements that the City of Maple Ridge will now be taking to deal with these issues:

• Addressing staffing issues with recruitment and retention, which may include reducing the number of programs being offered on a short-term basis

• Working with specific user groups to implement measures to reduce the number of hygiene incidents at the pool

• Offering refunds to customers impacted by cancellations or rescheduling of programs

• Improving communications to be more timely, clear, and proactive about any operational issues

RELATED: Seniors struggle to do aqua fitness when they can’t touch pool bottom

“I want to assure you we are on a path to improvements to address the impacts of disruptions to our customers,” said Labonne.

“In the coming weeks and months, I, and my team members, will share information as we address each of the issues that has impacted our service to you.”

“We care and want you to have the best possible customer service experience. We need to do better.”

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About the Author: Brandon Tucker

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