As we move into a new year, we look back at the old one to recall what transpired in 2019, which turned out to be a notable year for both the Australasian and global pool and spa industries.
Sadly, it started with the passing of New Zealand industry stalwart Geoff Bonham. He was a long-time New Zealand Pool Guild member and a strong supporter of the swimming pool and spa industry. He passed away on January 21 after a short illness.
In the US in January, the two major pool associations took a second shot at unification and formed the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), combining the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) and the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP).
In February, the Australian swimming pool and spa heating sector took control of its destiny by banding together to address the ongoing and intensifying water and energy challenges due to the combination of rapidly growing population, increasing energy base loads and increasingly unreliable rainfall patterns due to climatic uncertainty. This meeting led to them agreeing to a series of Standard reviews.
In the world of marketing, Zodiac kicked a goal with their three-month long Hello Summer promotional campaign which offered five lucky consumers from Australia and one from New Zealand the chance to win $1,000,000.
In March, Waterco announced that over the previous twelve months they had added 120 new staff in its Malaysian fibreglass filter division, bringing the headcount at the manufacturing plant to 500. Bryan Goh said this has been mainly to cope with the high labour content of manufacturing their commercial fibreglass filters.
The Evolve Group completed a multimillion-dollar investment deal partnering with an unnamed private investment firm, enabling Evolve and Poolrite to continue growing their Australian manufacturing facility. This followed from Evolve initially seeking investment in 2018, then deciding to sell the entire operation. Ty Hermans said the private equity offers them investment where it is needed.
Also in March, a Ballarat swim school was fined $150,000 following a 2016 diving accident that left a student wheelchair bound for life.
In April, a free training course called Spa Service and Repair was delivered around Australia and New Zealand by SPASA Australia and trainer Adrian Lacy of Spatex. He said industry training had been lacking spa content up till now. The feedback from the over 250 attendees to the course developed a new dedicated program called the Certified Spa Technicians Course.
A new era in the New Zealand pool and spa industry commenced in May, with the first Pool Spa & Outdoor Living Expo. Held in Auckland at the ASB Showgrounds it followed a new format compared to the old SPLASH! New Zealand expos, and was hailed a success by exhibitors and visitors. It will be an annual affair from now on.
The same month, leading Australian fibreglass swimming pool manufacturer and installer, Narellan Pools, opened a new manufacturing facility in Hamilton, New Zealand to service the New Zealand market and export to the South Pacific. Later in the year they forged a partnership with North America’s largest manufacturer of swimming pools, pool accessories and components – New York-based Latham Pool Products.
Also in May, Australian Innovative Systems’ CEO Elena Gosse broke the fundraising record for the Dancing CEOs competition, becoming Allstars Fundraising Champion with a new high water mark of $83,550 raised.
Sadly, Colin James Munro of Tamborine and formerly of Grafton and Sydney passed away aged 75 peacefully at home on May 21 after a long illness. In the 1980s he was secretary of the National Swimming Pool Association (NSPA) – which later became the Council of Australian Swimming Pools Association (CASPA) and finally the Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA). He also worked closely with SPASA NSW and nationally for many years into the 2000s.
In July, Belgravia Group purchased Jump Swim Schools, ending months of speculation and uncertainty for the company and saving the business from liquidation. Administrator, Glenn O’Kearney of GT Advisory, said the agreement was the best outcome for all stakeholders, including franchisees.
Also in July, SPASA Australia acquired Pool+Spa magazine from Universal Magazines’ parent company UM Media Group Pty Ltd. CEO Lindsay McGrath said that after a two-year strategic alliance with UM subsidiary Westwick Farrow Media (WFM), SPASA took the next step in the media landscape to add further value to members.
One of Australia’s longest standing concrete pool builders, Queensland’s Majestic Pools and Landscapes, went into liquidation in July, due to a range of market conditions. After the business assets were announced in SPLASH! to be for sale, the whole business was eventually acquired by Bali Pools Group.
In August, the second edition of the SPASA Leadership Convention proved to be highly successful, and was well attended by industry leaders and future leaders from around the country.
Following the convention, the SPASA National Awards of Excellence were held, with Urban Escape winning the National Pool of the Year Award.
Also in August, the design of prospective project Infinity London from Compass Pools UK was launched, a remarkable 360-degree infinity pool on top of an elongated 55-storey pyramid.
In September SPLASH! started a new feature: Industry Snapshots, introducing our readers to industry leaders by way of a short video. The first interview was with Hayward’s Tony Sharpe.
In October, swimming pool and spa associations from around the globe gathered at the annual meeting of the World Alliance of Pool and Spa Associations (WAPSA) to promote and protect the interests of the pool and spa industry globally, with SPASA Australia representing the local industry.
Also in November, SPASA Australia roadshows on the draft Australian Standard on swimming pool safety barriers delivered nationwide resulted in more than 2000 comments being submitted by industry participants.
In December, Sydney moved to level two water restrictions, a sign of things to come for the dramatic summer of heat and fire.
Also in December, the Victorian swimming pool and spa safety regulations changed and property owners became required to register their pools or spas with their local council by June 1, 2020.
SPLASH! would like to wish all our readers and supporters an exciting and prosperous 2020!