Swimming Pool Compliance Checks Completed
Auckland City swimming pool inspectors have now completed their checks of all known pools in Auckland City and on Waiheke Island.
This follows a commitment the Council made last year to inspect the 8500 privately-owned swimming and spa pools within its area by the end of this month, to ensure they comply with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987.
As properties with pools have been inspected, the Council’s comprehensive database has been updated, reflecting pools which have been removed and those which are new.
Overall, there has been a high willingness by homeowners to comply with the law, although in some cases a second visit to a property has been necessary.
While most of the inspection process is complete, aerial photos are still being searched for properties which may contain pools that are not on the Council’s database. These sites will have been visited by June 30.
The Council plans to revisit all pools in Auckland City on a two-yearly basis to ensure ongoing compliance.
One of the problems encountered by pool inspectors was that although many people believed their fences were legal, such maintenance-type issues as faulty gate latches sometimes prevented compliance. These issues are being dealt with through education and awareness.
Auckland City will also continue to be proactive in promoting public awareness, with stands at the Parent and Child Show, which have received positive feedback from the public and associated groups.
The Council makes information freely available to the public, with guidance and advice on how best to overcome problems which arise with individual pools. This advice is via a free ‘lifesaver information kit’ which contains a variety of information about compliance, including a 30-point pool fencing checklist.
For advice on how to meet the requirements of the Act or to arrange a site visit, Auckland City has a specialised pool fencing team available, which may be contacted by telephoning 379 2020.
At least five New Zealand children under six drown in home swimming and spa pools each year, according to Water Safety NZ statistics. In addition, for every child who drowns there are at least nine others involved in serious near drowning accidents, leaving them with permanent brain damage. These figures are among the highest in the developed world.
In situations where a pool owner fails to bring a pool fence up to standard, they may be prosecuted, possibly resulting in a substantial fine and an order to drain the pool.