Funding Again Considered For Lifeguards At Gray Gables
By: Diana T. Barth
At least one selectman is thinking about adding enough money to the Bourne Recreation Department’s budget to provide lifeguards and at least one session of swimming lessons at Gray Gables beach.
Selectman Donald J. Pickard said that the approximately $16,600 addition might be a small price to pay for the goodwill that budget addition would engender.
Mr. Pickard and Selectman John A. Ford Jr., both attended Monday’s joint session with the Bourne Finance Committee where the recreation department budget was reviewed.
Recreation Department Director Krissanne Caron told those assembled that she planned to staff four beaches in the upcoming summer season, just as her department did last year.
She said her current budget included lifeguards for beaches in Buzzards Bay, Sagamore Beach, Pocasset, and Monument Beach.
The budget also currently includes two sessions of lessons each in Pocasset and Monument Beach and a session at Buzzards Bay’s Electric Avenue beach.
Last season, she said, the mud created by the dredging at Hens Cove in Pocasset forced the second session of lessons to be moved to Monument Beach. This coming summer, Ms. Caron said, she thinks that the Hens Cove mud problem will be resolved so swimming lessons can return.
She said that only a few people took swimming lessons at Electric Avenue last season, so she is contemplating canceling lessons there this coming season.
That comment prompted FinCom member Mary Jane Mastrangelo to ask what it would cost to staff Gray Gables with lifeguards and provide at least one session of lessons there. Ms. Mastrangelo said that town officials were still receiving inquiries and that there were a number of people who wanted to see lessons provided there.
Ms. Caron had said that several Gray Gables residents had opted to take lessons at Monument Beach.
Since the beaches at Hens Cove, Monument Beach, and Gray Gables are all so close together, she thought that lessons at all three might be unnecessary.
Ms. Mastrangelo said, however, that she wanted to at least see the cost of that alternative.
Ms. Caron said that 8 weeks of lifeguard coverage, alone, would cost a little under $15,000. Adding six weeks (two 3-week sessions) of lessons would add another $3,200 to the budget, totaling $18,200.
Adding just one three-week set of lessons would cost $1,600, or a total of $16,600.
Both she and Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino, however, said that money is only a part of the problem. Even if the town uses free cash to fund lifeguards and lessons, there is no guarantee that they could find enough qualified personnel to fill the positions.
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