Get your pool fence in shape for summer
  • Wednesday 15 October 2008

To help keep children safe around backyard swimming pools this summer, the Sunshine Coast will continue its swimming pool inspection campaigns with the next one to focus on parts of the former Noosa Shire starting at the end of October.

The targeted campaign, which is part of a regular inspection program, was supported by Council’s Strategy and Planning Committee today and now will go to the full Council for endorsement at the Ordinary Meeting next Thursday.

Committee member and Division 11 Councillor, Russell Green, said the program aimed to reduce the risk of young children drowning in swimming pools that are unfenced or not properly fenced.

“Owning a swimming pool or spa comes with a responsibility to ensure your pool fence and pool gates are in great shape,” Cr Green said.

“However statistics show that most backyard drownings are due to children gaining access to the pool because it was unfenced or because the pool gate was either defective or open.

“These tragedies are preventable and with backyard pools and spa’s in just about all backyards across the Coast, pool safety is a joint responsibility. But while council can regulate and educate ,it is up to pool owners to make sure their pool remains safe.”

Cr Green said the Australian Water Safety Council had set an ambitious target to reduce drowning deaths in Australia by 50 per cent by 2020, as part a new strategy released earlier this month.

“Despite seeing a 20 per cent decrease in drowning deaths in the first four years since 2000, we are beginning to see a number of disturbing upwards trends, particularly in the under five years of age group,” Cr Green said.

“We need to take some major steps to reverse this trend and I support both the national strategy and council’s own efforts to ensure that our backyard pools remain safe via campaigns such as this pool inspection program.”

Pool fencing rules are made by the State Government; however local Councils are responsible for making sure all private pool owners follow these regulations.

Under the program, council staff will inspect selected private pools throughout Peregian Beach, Noosa Heads, Noosaville and Tinbeerwah to ensure fencing around pools complies with the Building Act 1975.

Council staff will specifically be looking to ensure pools comply with fencing standards and that those fences are kept in good condition.

They will also encourage pool owners to ensure:

  • pool access can’t be gained through doors or windows
  • pools display Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation signs
  • spas are properly fenced in the same way as swimming pools
  • all objects outside the pool fence are removed to prevent children gaining access.

The program is expected to be held from Monday 27 October and end on Saturday 28 February 2009.

The recommendation supporting the program will now be considered by the full Council at its Ordinary Meeting to be held at the Caloundra Office on Thursday 23 October 2008.