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National Pool Fencing Forum Explores Recent Issues

19 January 2005

National Pool Fencing Forum Explores Recent Issues

In late 2004 Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) hosted the National Pool Fencing Forum in Wellington. Under question was the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 and the relationship it holds with the Building Code amongst others. The ruling by Justice Randerson requested by a number of Waitakere City pool owners over the definition of the 'immediate pool area' was discussed. The ruling is helpful but does not answer all the questions of compliance that arise when owners want access from their house directly to the pool area.

Tabled at the Forum was a detailed plan of intent from the Local Authorities in the Auckland region. Their cohesive approach is seen as one to create some consistency, but also has a common sense view of enforcement.

WSNZ Executive Director, Alan Muir believes the Pool Fencing Forum was a success, "the timing was right to bring these parties together. Some of the major issues are really starting to come to a head and the prospect of change in the near future is the focus. Naturally enough, the tragic drowning of two more preschoolers in home pools over the past weekend is all the more reason to drive our efforts uniformly."

Topics covered at the forum included portable/inflatable pools, spa pools, supervision, the training of pool safety officers and the Local Government New Zealand Annual General Meeting Remit requesting legislative change amongst others.

There was unanimous support for developing greater consistency in meeting legislative requirements along with providing scope for more flexibility in the means of compliance.

Muir states "the combining of resources from the likes of the practitioners who are regulating at local body level, children's advocates in Plunket, the Department of Building and Housing, the pool designers and WSNZ's collective knowledge will allow us to drive on some key objectives and seek a clearer picture for all involved."

Delegates from a number of interested parties attended including; Plunket; ACC; Injury Prevention Research Unit; Department of Building and Housing; Safekids; Local Government New Zealand; Territorial Authorities, Office of the Commissioner for Children; WaterSafe Auckland, Police, New Zealand Institute of Architects and WSNZ.


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