The New South Wales Minister for Local Government, Paul Toole, has again been asked questions relating to swimming pool certification and Out of Ground Pool Walls by Shadow Minister Peter Primrose.
In July, these questions took place on the floor of the lower house of Parliament during Question Time, prompted by questions from pool and landscape architect Peter Glass. On this occasion in September, however, the venue was a budget estimates committee, and followed a July meeting with Spiros Dassakis of SPASA NSW & ACT.
On Friday, 2 September 2016, as part of the General Purpose Standing Committee for the examination of proposed expenditure for the portfolio area of Local Government, Shadow Minister Peter Primrose asked the following questions:
a) Are out of ground pool wall legal now? If not what action has been taken by you to alert the owners of such pools that their pools are illegal?
b) Were pools with out of ground pool walls ever legal?
c) How are the owners of such non-complying pools being notified?
d) How is the rectification being monitored and by whom?
e) What penalties apply for non-compliance?
The questions were taken on notice by the Minister, with answers expected by September 23.
SPLASH! has also received enquiries regarding compensation due to the BCA variation and posed the following question to the Minister, and awaits a reply in due course:
“From previous advice it is now the case that certifiers should treat previously council-approved in-ground pools that have one or more walls acting as a barrier – but without evidence of an exemption being filed – as non-compliant. Considering that the pool owner would have made different design and construction choices at the time the council approved it (had they been aware that the pool would not comply) is the council now liable to pay compensation to the owner for retrospective changes to the pool design and construction?”
SPLASH! also spoke with Spiros Dassakis who sees the Shadow Minister’s questions as very important.
He also wonders who will pay the costs associated with any changes to swimming pools and associated landscapes, if previously approved pools are now considered non-compliant.
“If the local government is saying they are no longer allowed, then they’re saying someone has got it wrong. If that’s the case, why is the home owner responsible for the remedy?” he asks.
“These are real life scenarios – so someone has to make a decision.”
Dassakis also says that the shadow minister is considering holding a Swimming Pool Stakeholder Meeting with the view of appraising the current swimming pool barrier inspection program and listening to suggestions put forward that seek to improve safety and certification outcomes.
Meanwhile, Peter Glass has started a petition to address the inconsistencies and potential dangers in the BCA variation that has made Out of Ground Pool Walls non-complying in NSW.
So far, 87 people have signed the petition and Glass is attempting to reach more than 100 signatories before forwarding the petition to the Minister.