Swimming pools across the Coast under scrutiny
  • Friday 11 December 2009

Swimming pools on the Sunshine Coast will be under even closer scrutiny following council’s decision to extend its swimming pool inspection program across the whole region.

The regionalised program aims to reduce toddlers drowning — the main cause of death for 1 – 4 year olds in Queensland — and will help to bring all residential pools into line with revised state government pool regulations which came into effect 1 December.

From that date, all new pools must meet the latest pool fencing standards, with strict non-climbable zones above and adjacent to the fence, be fenced during construction, undergo mandatory final inspections and display best practice cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) signage.

The state government also proposes a second round of changes focused on existing pools for late 2010.

These changes include mandatory pool inspections upon the sale or lease of a property; giving officers greater powers of entry to residential properties to ensure pool fences are well maintained and meet present building standards; and portable and spa pools, with a water level greater than 300 mm, are fenced to comply with the new regulations.

Statutory and Regional Planning portfolio holder, Russell Green, said the extended program aims to reduce the risk of young children drowning in pools that are unfenced or not properly fenced.

As a former Regional Director for Royal Life Saving Queensland, the primary organisation committed to water safety, swimming and lifesaving education in Australia, Cr Green said he was well aware of the high statistics on children drowning in Australia.

“Drowning is the single leading cause of death from all causes for Queensland toddlers aged 1 – 4 years and the leading cause of death from injury nationally for children under 5 years,” Cr Green said.

“Tragically, the majority of Queensland toddlers who drown do so in backyard swimming pools and of these pools a staggering 86% had fences with gaps, gates that didn’t close properly or worse, gates tied back or propped open at the time.

“Council’s regionalised program and the new Queensland laws are the opportunity to reverse these alarming statistics, so all pool owners are urged to ensure their pool is safely fenced to prevent any of our kids from becoming another heartbreaking statistic.”

Pool fencing rules are made by the state government; however local councils are responsible for making sure all private pool owners follow these regulations.