Keep children safe when around swimming pools
Inspections reveal many backyard pools are deemed unsafe
MORE than 100 pool owners in the Penrith LGA have been slapped with restrictions because they failed to meet safety requirements.
More than 1080 inspections were carried on approximately 500 properties across the area, by two swimming pool inspection officers for Penrith City Council — between July 2015 and June 2016.
There were 54 fines handed out in the same time frame.
The blitz is part of a NSW government crackdown to ensure pools meet child-resistant barrier requirements. However, only 13 per cent of these pools passed the initial inspection and 116 certificates of noncompliance have now been issued.
All properties with a swimming pool being sold or leased now require a valid certificate of compliance, non compliance or an occupation certificate.
However, purchasers of properties with swimming pools and a noncompliance certificate have 90 days to meet child-resistant barrier requirements.
A council spokesman said there are close to 20,000 pools in the Penrith LGA and certificates of compliance have been issued for 1172 swimming pool and spa barriers since the inception of the NSW Swimming Pool Register back in 2012.
He said: “Penrith was one of the first in NSW to commence a Swimming Pool and Spa Barrier Inspection Program when the legislation commenced in 2013.
“It applies to all pools and spas which hold 30cm or more of water, including those that are portable and inflatable.
“Self-registration online is free and easy to do — fines may apply to pool and spa owners have not yet registered their pools or spas.”
Pool owners can be fined $550 for not fencing a pool, $220 if it is not registered and up to $1500 if there is no development consent.
Maria Garofali, general manager at Nepean Pools, said: “In terms of safety when getting a pool, homeowner’s should consider that they, the owner will not only need to ensure there is a child resistant barrier installed around the pool, but also realise that they will need to maintain the child resistant barrier, as you do your swimming pool.
“You must never think that once the barrier is approved you can forget about it. The child resistant barrier will need to be maintained, for example regularly check that the pool gate is working correctly and is self closing.”
Blacktown Council’s head pool certifier, Shane Borg, said “we come across a lot of pools where the gate is propped open with wood and rocks and chairs and owners always tell me ‘I’m always walking in and out of the pool’ or ‘I was mowing the lawn’ or ‘it’s easier’.’’
“But there’s no excuse. You’ve got something in your backyard that can cause a great tragedy.’’
The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report states there were 45 drowning deaths in swimming pools across the country from July 2015 to June 2016.
Nepean Pools Operations Manager Adrian Garofali shows one of their beautiful safety compliant pools and (inset) an example of a dangerous pool gate.