Heat is on: pools on radar

With summer just around the corner, pools will once again become and oasis for those seeking to beat the heat.

However, a Riverina council has found a whopping 70per cent of backyard pools inspected this year weren’t up to scratch.

It comes after TheDaily Advertiserreported Wagga council used detailed aerial photography to weed out 200 pool owners who didn’t comply with strict new safety requirements.

Every year councils are required to pay a visit to backyard pools to see whether or not they are up to scratch.

Leeton Shire Council aims to inspect 50 of theestimated 465 backyard pools in the shire each year, butenvironmental health and building surveyorDionisio Pantano was concerned while some only had small issues to fix, children’s lives were being put at risk in the interim.

“Only 30 per cent of the inspections we’ve done are compliant, which isn’t good,” Mr Pantanosaid.

“Some of the issues have included gates not closing properly, a bigger gap then necessary with the fencing…the majority are minor issues, but it is important they are fixed.”

Mr Pantano said while the number of pools not meeting the regulations was concerning, it was trend that was being noted across the state.

“This is the first round of inspections that we have done under our new policy,” Mr Pantanosaid.

“Hopefully by the time we make our way back to these pools again we’ll be getting much better results.”

New compliance laws that came into effect onApril 29 require allpools–even small blow-up plastic pools – be surrounded by a 1.2 metre high fence all the way around and a fully latching gate.

The pools also needto be registered and for sales contracts to include a certificate of compliance or non-compliance with rules designed to reduce injuries and drownings.

The laws were passed after 83 children drowned in NSW backyard pools during the past 13 years, with Griffith recording the second highest drowning rate per head of population.

Leeton AUSTSWIM instructor Laura Brindley said people could never be too careful when it came to water safety.

“It’s not just pools, but also channels around here,” MsBrindley said.

“We know that if children want to get into a pool they will do whatever they can do to so, it’s so important to be vigilant.

“We need children to start learning to swim as early as possible to give them the skills to survive, but also to ensure areas around backyard pools are as safe as they can be.”

Local government staff can issue on-the-spot fines of $550 for non-compliance with the rules and penalties up to $5,500.

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