NEW laws regarding pool compliance have been met with fury by a Tamworth pool owner, who says costs charged by council to undertake pool barrier inspections are “well and truly excessive”.
Devon Drew, who wrote to The Leader expressing his anger, said council’s swimming pool inspection program was nothing more than a “cash cow”.
“I don’t mind having them look at the pool, but I don’t expect to pay $150,” he said.
“I can’t justify the costs. One hundred and fifty dollars, how can they do that? It’s just a ridiculous price.”
The scheme, which council was required to development and implement following amendments to the Swimming Pools Act, means pool owners must now complete a mandatory state register, and those wanting to sell or lease a property with a pool will be forced to provide council with a valid swimming pool compliance certificate before doing so.
And the inspections do not come cheap.
To ensure pool barriers comply with current legislative requirements, council will charge pool owners $150 for carrying out an initial inspection (the maximum fee allowed under the Act), payable within 14 days of the visit.
Should a further inspection be required, an additional fee of $100, again the maximum amount, will be charged. Subsequent pool inspections will not incur further fees, council has confirmed.
Mr Drew said the possibility of having to pay $250 for inspections on top of any remedial works needed to comply with the Act, was unwarranted.
“I have a compliance check on my rifle by NSW police and there’s no charge with that,” he said.
“Why are council charging? It’s just a compliance check and they should do the right thing for the sake of the community, rather than trying to grab money all the time.”
Tamworth Regional Council manager development and approvals David Lewis defended the cost of the inspections.
“The cost includes time taken to travel and then do the inspection (and) write a letter if need be for rectification works to be done,” he said.
“It’s more than just the inspection. It’s the inspector’s time as well as other staff who have to find out the age of the pool.”
Council would begin inspecting the region’s 6000 or so pools in stages, Mr Lewis said.
“We are not actually starting a targeted inspection program, the new legislation said we have to have inspections for selling or leasing properties – that certificate lasts for three years,” he said.
“It’s also a requirement under the new legislation to inspect all motels and tourism accommodation.”
“If our resources allow, then we will go to stage two, which is a more targeted inspection program starting with high risk properties.”