Today’s letters: Ottawa just isn’t paying its lifeguards enough

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As a dedicated lifeguard, swim instructor, and aquatic supervisor with the City of Ottawa for five years, it is disheartening to read all of the complaints about the registration system every season.

When I first started as a lifeguard, getting $17 an hour, in contrast to the $13 minimum wage, seemed like a significant achievement. The hours of training I had put in were finally paying off, and lifeguarding was a dream job for me and the friends I had made in my training courses. However, the recent raise in minimum wage, nearly matching our lifeguard pay, has caused a significant lack of motivation. To add, in the summer, lifeguards with the city do make minimum wage, with a mere $0.50-per-hour increase when teaching.

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Nobody wants to be a lifeguard or swim instructor anymore, when a fast-food or retail job will pay almost as much, if not the same. The issue is not the system, nor lack of recreation facilities; it is the lack of eager lifeguards and swim instructors.

I encourage the City of Ottawa to re-evaluate the hourly wage structure for lifeguards and swim instructors, not only to attract new talent but also to retain and appreciate the dedication of those who have been serving the community for years.

Jillian Desjardins, Ottawa

Lansdowne versus lower-income people

Re: Adam, Lansdowne plan’s biggest failure is the lack of affordable housing, Nov. 17.

Mohammad Adam laments that the city does not require any affordable housing among the proposed 770 housing units that are planned for Lansdowne.

This is not surprising. The city and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) know full well that those who live in affordable housing would not be able to afford to attend any of the concerts or sporting events held there, nor frequent any of the shops located on the site. So why give them any incentive to live there?

Brian Caines, Ottawa

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