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Many LCSD swimming pools remain open today

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) kept its 31 swimming pools, 23 beaches and four water sports centres open to the public today (August 6) despite an industrial action staged by the Hong Kong and Kowloon Life Guard's Union.

The Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Ms Anissa Wong, today visited some LCSD swimming pools and greeted on-duty lifeguards and swimmers there.

She highly commended those lifeguards who stood fast to their posts and did not participate in the strike.

She also thanked the Hong Kong Life Saving Society for deploying honorary lifeguards and the Auxiliary Medical Service for mobilising members to help minimise the disruption of services at the department's aquatic facilities.

To ensure swimmers' safety, the LCSD closed five swimming pools without sufficient number of on-duty lifeguards. These pools included Sham Shui Po Park Swimming Pool, Hammer Hill Road Swimming Pool, Fanling Swimming Pool, Jockey Club Yan Oi Tong Swimming Pool and Kwai Shing Swimming Pool.

Red flags were hoisted because of lifeguard service suspension in nine beaches, namely Middle Bay Beach, Cafeteria Old Beach, Cafeteria New Beach, Golden Beach, Trio Beach, Kiu Tsui Beach, Hap Mun Bay Beach, Clear Water Bay First Beach and Clear Water Bay Second Beach.

The department required 1,193 lifeguards on duty at its swimming pools and beaches. There was a shortfall of 672 lifeguards and 90 honorary lifeguards together with 185 Auxiliary Medical Service members were deployed to assist.

Ms Wong apologised for any inconvenience caused to members of the public due to the closure of some of its aquatic facilities.

She expressed that lifeguards should not fight for their rights at the expense of public interests.

She said: "We hope the lifeguards would attach utmost importance to serving the community and any causes that they fight for should not jeopardise public interests."

"We have been very active and sincere in inviting the union to discuss with us issues of concern," she added.

She said that with the union's consent, two proposed working groups jointly formed by the management and staff representatives could commence work immediately.

The two suggested working groups would review lifeguard establishment and the mechanism for determining the salary of temporary contract lifeguards.

Ends/Friday, August, 6, 2004
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