Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Regulation change irks pool owner

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Rob Clark, pictured with sons Elliot, 9, and Cameron, 11, is upset new pool fencing regulations could set him back thousands of dollars. Photo / George Novak
Rob Clark, pictured with sons Elliot, 9, and Cameron, 11, is upset new pool fencing regulations could set him back thousands of dollars. Photo / George Novak

New safety regulations have irked a Papamoa man whose pool built only 13 years ago no longer meets compliance rules.

Rob Clark built his Papamoa home in 2003 and planned the shape of the house to accommodate a pool area with indoor/outdoor flow. He got compliance for the pool from Tauranga City Council in 2006.

The pool sits in one corner of the property and is accessed by a sliding door from the kitchen and main living area. The living area opens up to a cobblestoned courtyard with fences 1.2m high fully encircling the area right up to the walls of the house.

To make the pool compliant when the house was built, Mr Clark had to ensure there were deadbolts locking the doors to the pool area.

"It was all ticked off, all compliant. The fencing is the legally required height, the windows all had to have stays on them, and we had two deadbolts put on the sliding doors. The guy that came back in 2006 was happy with my doors."

But because the pool can be accessed by a door, Mr Clark must now either install a self-closing or self-latching mechanism on his door, which had been priced at $3500, or put an extra fence between his sliding door and the pool, disrupting the indoor/outdoor flow.

Mr Clark believed the rule changes would impact many Tauranga home owners with newer homes designed for indoor/outdoor flow.

Tauranga City Council's pool regulations state fencing "should prevent young children moving directly into the pool area from the house, other buildings, garden paths or other parts of the property".

Any door in a building that provides direct access to the pool must be self-closing and self-latching.

Tauranga City Council manager environmental monitoring Andrew McMath said the council was taking a more proactive stance on pool safety, which meant there would be some properties where decisions made 10 years ago needed to be reviewed and superseded.

"Since the main goal is safety, our intention is to work with individual pool owners to find the smoothest and least painful path to a safe and compliant pool. These discussions will generally be initiated at inspection time once our officers have had a chance to visit the property."

Mr McMath said the council sent letters to every known pool owner in December to advise that inspections would start February this year.

Pool inspections would be carried out by suburb, starting in areas of the city that had older pools.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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