Div­ing banned at Can­nons Creek pool


A 10-year-old girl’s div­ing mishap, which put her in hos­pi­tal with sus­pected spinal in­juries, has prompted a ban on div­ing and other fun at Can­nons Creek Pool.

The pool’s rope-swing, its ‘aqua-run’ and all in­flat­able play toys have been scrapped af­ter an investigation into the ac­ci­dent, which took new health and safety laws into ac­count.

The ban has also left lo­cal com­pet­i­tive swim­mers at a dis­ad­van­tage be­cause they will be un­able to prac­tise dive starts.

The child was in­jured in May dur­ing a Porirua City Aquat­ics (PCA) Swim Club club training ses­sion. She dived at an al­most ver­ti­cal an­gle, strik­ing her head on the bot­tom of the pool.

She was taken to hos­pi­tal with sus­pected head and spinal in­juries, but was found to have soft tis­sue dam­age, pulled ten­dons and a lump on her head. She has since re­turned to swim­ming and has par­tic­i­pated in racing.

A tem­po­rary ban on div­ing was in­tro­duced while the in­ci­dent was in­ves­ti­gated.

But last Mon­day, the Porirua City Coun­cil made the ban per­ma­nent af­ter an investigation showed the one-me­tre-deep pool was too shal­low for safe div­ing.

Chief oper­at­ing of­fi­cer Tam­sin Evans said the de­ci­sion had been in­flu­enced by the new health and safety law, but the coun­cil would likely have made the same de­ci­sion be­fore the change.

‘‘No­body wants to be the first head­line case and we have a public re­spon­si­bil­ity to make our pool safe,’’ Evans said.

‘‘A sus­pected spinal in­jury in a small child in our pool was some­thing we could not ig­nore.’’

The ban was op­posed by Swim­ming New Zealand, which said not al­low­ing chil­dren to dive-start in shal­low pools, com­mon in New Zealand, could ‘‘greatly af­fect com­pet­i­tive swim­ming’’, if the move set a prece­dent.

PCA pres­i­dent Viv Mor­ton said the ban had been a hin­der­ance, as its chil­dren had been racing since May with­out be­ing able to prac­tise dive-starts.

‘‘It has se­verely af­fected our club and it’s put them at a dis­ad­van­tage - ob­vi­ously we want to teach our kids to dive safely.’’

Can­nons Creek was a low­in­come area, so trans­port­ing them them to an­other pool where they could prac­tise dive-starts was not fea­si­ble, Mor­ton said.

The coun­cil said it had of­fered to match the pool’s fees at Te Rau­paraha Arena, where the chil­dren could do dive-starts.

But Mor­ton said the arena’s 25m pool was too short for com­pet­i­tive racing. Olympic-size pools are 50m in length.

The rope swing will be re­moved fully in Jan­uary.

Can­nons Creek pool has been deemed too shal­low for div­ing af­ter a girl was in­jured ear­lier this year.

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