Waitakere will lobby for better Pool Fencing Act
Media Information 26 11 04
Waitakere will lobby Government for better Pool Fencing Act
Waitakere City Council will lobby the Government to reform or repeal the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act.
It will also chair a regional working party to attempt to get a regional approach to interpreting and implementing the current Act. Within the city, the Council will re-constitute its Swimming Pool Exemption Committee, to hear applications from Pool Owners wanting to challenge a Council ruling about how their fence must be built.
The Council is taking these actions after discussing a declaratory judgement from Judge Randerson in the High Court, that was sought when a number of pool owners challenged the Council’s interpretation of the Act.
The Council sought the judgement hoping to provide certainty that pool owners would accept, rather than face prosecution for non-compliance.
Judge Randerson upheld Waitakere City Council’s view that a pool fence must be in close proximity to the pool. He rejected calls for pool owners to be able to decide where to site their fence.
While not specifying how close a fence has to be to the pool, he did specify a number of things that could not be included in the pool areas. Among them were gardens and clotheslines.
While upholding the Council’s view, Judge Randerson disagreed with Department of Internal Affairs guidelines to the Act, which said that outdoor entertainment areas should not be within the pool fence. He declared that provided the fence was in close proximity to the pool, barbeque areas and tables and chairs could be inside the fence.
The judgement however, did not clarify some other matters and Council agreed to lobby the Government to either repeal the act or to revise it to remove the present grey areas.
In the meantime, the Chief Executives of Councils in the Auckland region have formed a joint working party to decide, in light of the judgement, on common interpretations and consistent application of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act.
It is hoped this will lead to guidelines for all councils to follow and also to clarify suggestions of how the Act can be reformed.