14 January 2016

Backyard pool fun about to blow up

You might find the following article of interest?

Eastern Courier Messenger, Dan Jervis-B

RESIDENTS are risking $500 fines by setting up blowup pools in their backyards this summer, under a littleknown State Government regulation aimed at preventing children from drowning.

The regulation - included a decade ago in the state's Development Act - applies to any pool that can be filled to a depth of 30cm or has a filter system. Development applications cost a minimum of $354 and take three to six weeks to process.

Prices for blow-up pools requiring council approval range from $55 to $160, according to an Eastern Courier Messenger survey of major retailers.

Local councils, Kid Safe SA and the State Government last week supported the regulation, saying it triggered a requirement for the pools to undergo a council safety inspection. The councils' support came despite only Campbelltown having received any applications in the past two years.

Campbelltown last month posted a notice to its website reminding residents they needed development approval to install inflatable pools.

It came after the council received "several inquiries" from residents about the increasingly popular pools.

Campbelltown acting chief executive Michelle Hammond said the council had received "probably less than 10" applications in that period.

No local council had handed out a $500 fine - which would only be issued if the resident did not comply with a request to remove the pool - in the past two years.

Burnside council community services general manager Louise MillerFrost said the regulation was about ensuring pools were safe for children.

If the council was alerted to breaches, it would encourage the resident to lower the water level in the pool, or deflate it, before issuing a fine.

Unley Mayor Lachlan Clyne said it was important parents understood that inflatable swimming pools posed "a very real, lifethreatening risk to young children".

A Planning Department spokesman said the regulation "existed to save lives".

He said it was designed to apply to pools that would be filled with water and used for extended periods.

Independent MLC John Darley, who has long been outspoken on the need to cut government red-tape, labelled the approval requirement "ridiculous".

He called for the minimum $354 development application fee to be brought in line with the cost of the pool.

Kids Safe SA chief executive Holly Fitzgerald called on every council to alert residents about the requirement.

"These pools are so cheap and readily available these days, so it is increasingly important to make sure that they get a safety inspection," Ms Fitzgerald said.

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