POOL owners in Orange will risk a fine as high as $2200 if they don’t register their pool online by the end of the month and will eventually pay a $150 fee when all pools are inspected to check they’re fenced correctly.
Orange City Council will give the public the opportunity to comment before they adopt their policy to meet the statewide initiative to cut the number of children drowning, including the $150 fee for initial inspections and a $100 fee for follow-ups.
But the state government regulations enforcing the registration of all pools online, at no cost, by October 29 is in effect now and pool owners who breach the rules risk a fine of $220 or up to $2200 if it is refered to court.
Pool owner Zeanna Johnson supports the initiative to improve pool safety but believes the $150 council inspection fee is unfair, especially if the pool is up to scratch.
“They should only charge the fee if the pool violates the standards,” she said.
“[But] if it’s not fixed the council should go a bit harder.”
Mrs Johnson said she was unaware of the pool register and believed it needed more promotion.
In the first round of inspections, starting from April 29, 2014, the council will target pools at tourist accommodation, multi-occupancy dwellings and properties about to be sold, council spokesman Allan Reeder said.
The second phase of inspections will focus on unregistered pools when complaints are received, but in due course the estimated 1000 pools across Orange will be inspected.
Mr Reeder said the program was aimed at encouraging residents to improve their pool safety rather than penalising them for not complying with regulations.
But state laws allow for fines of up to $550 if pools are not fenced correctly or if the gate is not kept securely closed.
“The proposed council policy suggests these penalties would only be used after significant non-compliances or for not fixing a problem after it was found,” Mr Reeder said.
Mrs Johnson said it would be unfair if pool owners were charged an inspection fee if a neighbour’s complaint about a pool was unfounded.
The statewide regulations will mean all pool owners who want to sell or lease their property from april 29 have to pay the council or a private certifier for a certificate of compliance first.
Mrs Johnson said the onus should be on real estate agents to ensure pools were registered and secured, but renters also had responsibility to keep the pool secure.
To register you pool go to: www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au.
Did you know?
Inflatable or portable pools must be fenced if they can be filled with more than 30 centimetres of water.
Outdoor fish ponds or water features do not have to be fenced.
Spa pools must be fenced if they are not covered or secured with a lockable child-safe door, lid, grille or mesh covering.
All pools in NSW must be registered online, at no cost, by October 29.
You can search the state’s swimming pool register to check if a pool at any address has been registered.
From April 29 a pool must be registered and a certificate of compliance issued before the property is sold or leased.
For more information go to: www.orange.nsw.gov.au/poolsafety.