Wairarapa mum slams safety move

By Vomle Springford

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GONE: The slide, pictured at the back of the pool, when it was at the Greytown Memorial Baths. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA
GONE: The slide, pictured at the back of the pool, when it was at the Greytown Memorial Baths. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA

A Greytown mother says kids are being "wrapped up in cotton wool" after a pool slide was removed for safety reasons.

Jo Van Vliet and her boys are disappointed there is nothing to play on at the Greytown Memorial Baths this summer.

"I think I was more disappointed because they had so much fun on it," Miss Van Vliet said.

The diving boards had been removed a few years ago too: "All the fun things are just disappearing all the time."

She had read in the Greytown Grapevine that the slide was removed because of health and safety regulations. But children needed to learn to take calculated risks and judge unsafe situations, she said.

"They have to be able to learn how far they can push their bodies. We are wrapping them in cotton wool. It would be nice to have a bit of common sense."

She said many people were now driving all the way to the Carterton pool because it was free and had pool equipment.

Kids staying at the Greytown camping ground were missing out.

"They say there will be other things put in, why haven't they put them up yet?"

The council should have asked for feedback on what could replace the slide, said Miss Van Vliet. "I didn't feel consulted."

She felt the council could easily hold an online survey.

Mark Allingham, group infrastructure services manager at the South Wairarapa District Council, which manages the pool, said the slide posed a risk and had to be removed last year after a child fell off it and was injured.

"There was an incident where someone had fallen off the ladder," he said. "The slide was situated above concrete, which is a breach of the NZ safety standards. It wasn't a correct slide for a pool, it was a park slide and they stuck it next to the pool and put a hose down it."

This might be acceptable in a backyard but not at a public pool, said Mr Allingham.

"The council is held to a higher standard of accountability."

Standards were there so no one would wind up with a broken head, he said.

The council's new pool contractor operated to OSH standards.

"Since we've had the new contractor, we have had to change a lot of practices to make them more modern.

"It's all about being safe."

He said an inflatable in-pool slide was on the way to replace the old slide.

One had already been put in at Martinborough Pool.

ACC says falls are the leading cause of injury in children.

Safekids NZ says while childhood falls are often viewed as part of growing up, they can cause serious injury and, in some cases, can be fatal.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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