Ella Freshney stands outside her properly-fenced pool, which is also required for much cheaper inflatable pools.
Ella Freshney stands outside her properly-fenced pool, which is also required for much cheaper inflatable pools. Renee Pilcher

No cheap solution to relieve heat

GYMPIE Council staff did not want to be seen as the “fun police” but felt compelled to issue a warning to residents who may be thinking about spending money on an inflatable pool this summer.

GRC’s manager of building and plumbing Ross Bishop said while many people already knew the laws regarding pools, just as many were unaware there was a fencing requirement for temporary backyard pools that could be bought for less than $100.

He said there was more to it than simply installing a fence, as under the Building Act residents would also need to pay $419 for a pool and fence application fee and site inspection.

Mr Bishop said while council wasn’t actively seeking to catch people with unfenced pools, if one was seen during a drive-by or was reported to council, officers would be obliged to issue enforcement notices straight away.

“At this time of year pools cause heartaches for council staff,” he said. “We understand many people purchase inflatable pools while totally unaware of the requirements.

“On the packaging there is small print warning buyers to consult with their local authority and I’m here to say: buyers beware. My concern is people may be totally unaware of what is involved and I want to bring it to their attention.”

Council currently has the ability to issue fines up to $525 to people who do not comply with the law and from December 1, pool safety laws will get even tougher with on-the-spot fines to be imposed on pool owners in many cases.

The Queensland Government has introduced Australia’s toughest new pool safety laws that include the requirement for pool safety certificates to be provided when selling or leasing a property with a pool. Local governments will also be required to provide records of existing pools to help establish a state-wide swimming pool safety register.

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