Pool row leads to pol­icy re­view

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

An irate fa­ther was re­moved from Tawa Pool by po­lice af­ter he re­fused to leave an area closed off for a pri­vate func­tion.

The sit­u­a­tion has trig­gered a re­view by Welling­ton City Coun­cil re­cre­ation staff of coun­cil pol­icy around the pri­vate hireage of pools.

Seyed Fatemi took his 3-yearold to Tawa Pool on July 13.

His son im­me­di­ately ran to a wa­ter slide in the chil­dren’s pool, but Fatemi was told the pool was split in half, with the slide only to be used by chil­dren at a birth­day party.

Fatemi said he took ex­cep­tion to part of a fa­cil­ity paid for by ratepay­ers be­ing cut off for a pri­vate party.

‘‘Even if I as­sume there is such a rule that al­lows this, how are par­ents like my­self sup­posed to con­vince a 3-year-old not to use a colourful toy [the slide] set up in the other half of the pool?’’ he said.

Fatemi com­plained to pool staff and they asked that he and his son leave the area set aside for the func­tion. He re­fused and be­cause the staff had no power to re­move him, po­lice were called.

Fatemi said pri­vate fa­cil­i­ties like Laugh­alots and Jun­glerama had pri­vate rooms set aside, with­out dis­tract­ing other chil­dren.

‘‘ Govern­ment should try to learn more from the pri­vate sec­tor.’’

The coun­cil’s re­cre­ation fa­cil­i­ties man­ager, Ju­lian Todd, said the in­ci­dent was un­for­tu­nate, but staff had han­dled it as they should.

Fatemi was asked sev­eral times to leave the des­ig­nated area, but would not, so Todd said the rare step was taken to call po­lice.

All pools op­er­ated by the coun­cil have for many years been able to be hired ex­clu­sively for swim meets, cor­po­rate func­tions or fam­ily cel­e­bra­tions such as birth­days, Todd said.

‘‘We do advertise the fact that things like birth­day par­ties can take place, but we will be look­ing at the pro­cesses so we’re clear to the pub­lic. We want to en­sure there is bal­ance.’’

Todd said this was the first time he could re­call a com­plaint of this na­ture, but it would be fol­lowed up.

‘‘We’re go­ing to do a stocktake of our fa­cil­i­ties and see if any con­cerns of this na­ture have been raised. If they have, we’ll have a look at our poli­cies.’’

Any find­ings would be re­layed to Fatemi in the com­ing weeks, Todd said.

Changes to pool and re­cre­ation spa­ces hireage poli­cies would need to be made by Welling­ton City coun­cil­lors, he said.

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