Pool row leads to policy review
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.