Keep chil­dren safe when around swim­ming pools

In­spec­tions re­veal many back­yard pools are deemed un­safe

Penrith Press - - NEWS - Ben Gra­ham

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.

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