Cromwell pool con­cerns raised


Con­cerns over su­per­vi­sion and safety at the Cromwell Swim Cen­tre have been raised in at least three let­ters to the Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil, fol­low­ing the near-drown­ing of a young girl in 2016.

In May 2016, Amelia Crooks was re­vived af­ter nearly drown­ing in the Cromwell Swim Cen­tre’s ther­a­peu­tic pool fol­low­ing a swim­ming les­son.

In a let­ter to coun­cil dated De­cem­ber 10, a woman wrote ad­vis­ing them of an in­ci­dent in­volv­ing her daugh­ter at the pool.

‘‘My sis­ter was in the mid­dle with her chil­dren aged 4 and 6 years old. My daugh­ter kicked to the side of the pool and stood on the step talk­ing to me. As I glanced at my baby and quickly looked back, my daugh­ter was un­der the wa­ter with only her hand reach­ing up. I in­stantly reached in and re­moved her from be­ing fully sub­merged. I looked to see if any­one had no­ticed and saw the life­guards were just stand­ing and talk­ing amongst them­selves - no one even no­ticed. I felt so pan­icked by my ex­pe­ri­ence and be­lieve if I was not present - noone would have no­ticed my daugh­ter about to drown.‘‘

In an­other email dated Jan­uary 22 this year, a mother wrote ex­press­ing con­cern about the lack of clear sig­nage.

‘‘I thought the ramp that was in the cen­tre of this pool was a glo­ri­fied en­trance­way for the kids to go down. I was not aware that this was po­ten­tially a di­vi­sion be­tween a learner’s pool and a ther­a­peu­tic pool. Chil­dren swim on both sides of this pool, all with dif­fer­ent ca­pa­bil­i­ties and the depth of the ther­a­peu­tic pool is not clear and can eas­ily catch you out un­ex­pect­edly. I am sure there have been many other fam­i­lies from out of town whom would as­sume the same.’’

On Jan­uary 25 an­other woman wrote to coun­cil say­ing she will not al­low her nine-year-old to swim alone, even though she is le­gally al­lowed to.

‘‘I feel there is skele­ton staff on in re­gards to su­per­vi­sion. Af­ter a near drown­ing at the swim cen­tre I was ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed when the next day I took my chil­dren to swim ex­pect­ing staff to be at a max­i­mum, the area of the in­ci­dent was still unat­tended. [The] area of the ther­a­peu­tic pool needs to be ad­dressed with sig­nage im­me­di­ately as I am only aware of the change in depth due to be­ing in the pool with my chil­dren. I would not be aware of this change in depth other­wise and have never been in­formed so.’’

Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Leanne Mash said she was un­able to com­ment as they had no record of the coun­cil re­ceiv­ing the let­ters.

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