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Council gets tough on swimming pool fencing

Latrobe City Council has issued a specific policy on backyard swimming pool and spa fencing

By Latrobe City Council - 30th April 2001 - Back to News

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Latrobe City Council has increased its commitment to community safety by issuing a specific policy on backyard swimming pool and spa fencing.

Latrobe City Mayor, Councillor Brendan Jenkins said the policy adopted by Council sent a clear message to the community that compliance with the pool fencing regulations would be strictly enforced by Council, and give clear direction to Council officers to enforce regulations.

"Despite intensive publicity and a current legislative environment that makes barriers compulsory, some children are still drowning in residential swimming pools. On average eight or nine children drown in private swimming pools each year in Victoria," Cr Jenkins said.

"New pools or spas constructed after April 1991 were required to have safety barriers. This included pools or spas in hotels, motels and apartment complexes. Retrospective legislation was then introduced in 1994 to provide for the installation of swimming pool barriers around all existing swimming pools and spas in Victoria that were part of a residential allotment, which means that by law all residential pools must have a suitable barrier," Cr Jenkins explained.

"Yet despite intensive publicity on the issue and a government induced moratorium there are still some residential pools that do not have a suitable barrier. There are also instances where existing barriers have been removed or compromised, or simply never complied with the code or standard.

"Some people feel that in their own case a pool barrier is not necessary, perhaps because they donít have children themselves. Of course, inevitably the unexpected happens, a family visits or a neighbourís child wanders in unseen through an open gate, and another tragedy occurs. Council cannot stress strongly enough, that the requirement is for all residential properties with pools to comply," Cr Jenkins said.

"At the moment the building unit relies on vigilant neighbours to advise of non-complying pool barriers, and carries out random inspections. Every effort will be made during the next few months to ensure compliance and we welcome advice from citizens if they are aware of a dangerous situation," Cr Jenkins added.

"Where Council becomes aware of a swimming pool existing without a barrier, the landowner will be required to provide a barrier within 14 days. Failure to comply will result in an infringement notice being served and enforcement proceedings commenced.

"Council has a duty of care to ensure that the safety of young children is not compromised in Latrobe City. While a large proportion of the community have done the right thing and understand the need to protect their own loved ones and the rest of the community from harm, there are still some people who have scant regard for the safety of others.

"While our policy is specifically targeting those who have failed to comply with the requirements, we ask all pool owners to use this reminder to check that their own pool barrier is entirely secure and that gates canít be opened by young children unintentionally," Cr Jenkins concluded.

Advice regarding pool fencing legislation and appropriate barriers is available from Latrobe City Council Building Approvals Unit, telephone 1300 367 700.


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