Coun­cil won’t ban wharf jump­ing

Central Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - CRAIG HOYLE

Auck­land Coun­cil won’t ban jump­ing at pop­u­lar water spots this sum­mer, de­spite fears that swim­mers could end up dead or se­ri­ously in­jured.

A num­ber of young men have be­come quadriplegics af­ter jump­ing off the wharf at Marae­tai Beach and suf­fer­ing spinal in­juries.

How­ever, pre­vi­ous at­tempts by the coun­cil to ban div­ing at dan­ger spots had failed, and it now takes a dif­fer­ent ap­proach.

Auck­land Coun­cil act­ing head of op­er­a­tional man­age­ment and main­te­nance Si­mon Ran­dall said it could not con­trol how peo­ple chose to act.

‘‘We’ve stopped us­ing signs that ban div­ing as peo­ple of­ten ig­nore them,’’ Ran­dall said.

‘‘Our signs are now in­for­ma­tive and ed­u­ca­tional, and in­clud­ing warn­ing of risks.’’

ACC had 230 claims last year for in­juries suf­fered at jump­ing or div­ing struc­tures around the coun­try, rang­ing from cuts and bruises to surgery for shat­tered an­kles and dam­aged spines.

That’s a sharp in­crease on pre­vi­ous years, which has prompted calls for na­tional ac­tion.

Auck­land Coun­cil has been con­duct­ing a review of safety sig­nage around swim­ming spots.

It is also en­gag­ing com­mu­ni­ties to try im­prove safety, and is work­ing with agen­cies such as Water­safe to in­crease safety aware­ness.

CHRIS MCKEEN/STUFF

The wharf at Marae­tai Beach in Auck­land is a pop­u­lar but dan­ger­ous jump­ing spot.

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