The new shade sails at Palmerston North's Lido outdoor pool have been applauded as a great example of teamwork that helps make the community safer and healthier.
Cancer Society Manawatu SunSmart adviser Kerry Hocquard was at the Lido yesterday for the first annual Palmerston North Girls' High School swimming sports that made use of the shade.
Ms Hocquard lobbied the Palmerston North City Council to provide more shade after 94 per cent of 230 respondents to a survey supported improvements.
"The community spoke, the council listened - a great outcome," she said. Originally a $20,000 project, better shade coverage was achieved after the council was able to boost the money available to $50,000, transferring budgets that were not fully spent providing shelters at Vautier Park.
Ms Hocquard said the evidence of the benefits of protecting people from the sun, especially children, adolescents and those with fair skin, was compelling.
Pool users were particularly vulnerable to UV radiation that could lead to skin cancers, including deadly melanoma.
In 2009, melanoma was the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in New Zealand, with 2212 cases, and 326 deaths.
The Central Cancer Network Region recorded the third highest incidence in New Zealand.
"Every statistic represents a person's life, family, friends, workplace and activities all being affected by the impact of cancer."
Ms Hocquard said Lido staff had supported the campaign for more shade, and she wanted them to benefit from an education programme to be rolled out for them later this year.
"I would like the momentum to continue." The need remained for more shade in other outdoor areas in the city, especially where people worked and enjoyed recreation.
- Manawatu Standard
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