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.