Dozens of Southland pools fail the safety test

Dozens of private pools in the Southland District have failed safety inspections, putting children’s lives at risk.

Julie Conradi, the council’s building solutions manager, said 90 percent, [146] of the 162 known pools, spas, and hot tubs in the district initially failed or complied with building codes and building codes upon initial inspection.

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However, through reconnaissance and renewed inspections, that number had been reduced to 86 [53 per cent] which is still “much too high”.

The compliance team would continue to work with property owners to ensure all pools in the district are compliant.

The head of the council’s building compliance team, Simon Tonkin, said people thought tragedy would never happen to them.

Kavida Herath / Stuff

Simon Tonkin, head of Southland District Council’s Building Compliance team, says gates on pool fences have been the main point of failure in pool inspections.

“But children love water. It’s a big draw for them, and as we know, it can lead to disaster. We say owners must do everything they can to protect children from becoming another sad statistic.”

Gates on pool fences were the main point of failure, Tonkin said.

Simon Tonkin, head of Southland District Council's Building Compliance team, says gates on pool fences have been the main point of failure in pool inspections.

Kavida Herath/Stuff

Simon Tonkin, head of Southland District Council’s Building Compliance team, says gates on pool fences have been the main point of failure in pool inspections.

To protect children effectively, gates had to be self-closing and latch properly when gently released from any open position. The bar must be at least 1500 mm above the floor.

Adam Grice, a member of the compliance team, said the leading cause of death from drowning in children under the age of five is in domestic swimming pools.

In 1987, before legislation was introduced, 30 children under the age of five drowned each year and more than 100 were hospitalized. “Now it’s an average of two children who drown a year and 10 who are hospitalized.”

More than half of Southland County's private swimming pools have failed safety inspections [Generic photo]

Unsplash/Alexandr Podvalny

More than half of Southland County’s private swimming pools have failed safety inspections [Generic photo]

Conradi said the council has made pool safety a top priority for its compliance team, with child safety being key.

All private pools must comply with the building code and regulations for barriers and/or fences or the height of the pool walls to prevent children under 5 years of age having access to the water and putting themselves at risk.

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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