Ashburton District Council will begin implementing new swimming pool safety and operational procedures to meet legal requirements at the five district pools on Council land. It has committed to working with pool committees to help them achieve this.
Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 2015, Council is considered to be a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) and is required to take reasonable and practicable steps to ensure the safety of pool users at the Hinds, Mayfield, Mt Somers, Rakaia and Ruapuna swimming pools.
Council's People and Capability Manager Cindy Meadows says the Council's number one priority is to make swimming pools a safe place for swimmers and their families. "These changes will make it much safer for families to use the facilities. We look forward to residents enjoying these pools over the coming summer months, and we will be working closely with the pool committees to implement the changes as they apply to each pool."
During the next few months, data will be collected on how and when the pools are used. This will help identify if pool volunteers need to be trained in supervising swimmers. If trained volunteers are required, training will be offered and the pool committees will need to register those trained volunteers. Pool committees will also need to decide what their opening hours will be.
Council will offer the pool committees the option of Council officers carrying out monthly microbiological water testing, rather than volunteers having to do this. Officers will also look at using Council's buying power to bulk buy chemicals that pools need, and will investigate different mechanisms for pool entry such as one way gates, fencing and keypad locks.
Council has also decided to assess the pool depths and diving springboards at the Hinds and Rakaia pools to determine if the platforms are safe to remain there. They will be reviewed against the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 and Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) standards.
"Our overall aim is to ensure the pools continue to be an asset for our communities. We absolutely recognise the importance of local swimming pools to our rural residents," Ms Meadows says.