POOL owners have only a week to register their pools with a new state-wide safety program and Tamworth Regional Council will sit down tonight to decide how it helps residents to keep up the new standards.
The council will look at how it introduces a new inspection program it has inherited from the state government’s decision to enforce new safety and compliance laws.
The legislation places a new responsibility on owners to certify their pools meet the new safety standards, mainly about pool barriers and access to pools.
According to TRC development and approvals manager David Lewis the draft inspection program sets out their approach to dealing with the new laws.
Under stage 1 the council has set out how it will deal with applications from owners for compliance certificates and complaints.
They’ve decided on a targeted approach, subject to resources, that will see the first series of inspections based on risk assessments.
This means that commercial pools at accommodation venues, older pools and rural pools now close to residential areas will be top of the list.
The council will be asked to adopt that strategy tonight so that higher risk pools and older ones, which might not have been adequately maintained, will be targeted.
Under the new laws, which come into effect from next April, if you don’t have a pool compliance certificate you won’t be able to sell or lease your property, and if you don’t register your pool you could face a penalty up to $2200.
Tamworth Regional Council doesn’t know how many pools it has but estimates it could be about 6000 based on the fact that the-then city council in 2003 had something like 4000 pools on its books and Parry shire had more than 1500.
The council’s program is now based on risk assessment and in a two-stage program it sets out how it will do that.
It intends to carry out inspections where there have been complaints about defective pools, where a certificate is requested, where an owner wants advice about how to make his pool comply, and where the pool is used for tourist or visitor accommodation, in motels and in multiple-occupancy buildings.
The second step will see inspectors target higher risk pools, like older ones that might have changed their barriers, pools now near higher density residential areas, pools that never had final council inspections or pools that haven’t been inspected for five years.
The program needs to be in place by October 29 and has to meet state requirements, be workable and within council resources, and contribute to an improvement in public safety.
A five-page plan will be put to the council detailing how that is going to be done. It went on display for public comment last month but didn’t attract even one submission.
The report to council proposes that inspections to obtain the compliance certificate will cost $150 for the first visit and $100 if there’s a need for a second.