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.