Timaru council to get inspiration for CBay pool safety from other districts
A move to see how the accident rate at Timaru's swimming complex compares to those elsewhere in New Zealand has been labelled "fruitless" by an industry expert.
Three-quarters of the 392 reported health and safety incidents on Timaru District Council property over the last year occured at the CBay recreation centre.
Many of the 294 reported incidents at CBay related to slipping on tiles, injuries associated with using the hydroslide and as a result of children being left unattended.
The pool opened in 2012. It is the single biggest generator of non-staff incidents.
A council spokesman said there was a major focus on health and safety efforts, and the council's audit and risk committee was expected to discuss the centre on Tuesday.
Pools and leisure centres, particularly large ones such as CBay, would be expected to have the highest incident rate of all local authority-run services, he said.
"The incidents mainly stem from the nature of being our only large community facility where people, of a wide variety of ages, are having fun undertaking physical activities such as swimming or going to the gym," the spokesman said in a statement.
"Because of this we take an active approach to incident recording, so even the most minor bumps and scrapes get recorded as well as the more major incidents.
"This may drive up the incident numbers, but gives us a more comprehensive picture of what's going on."
The council's audit and risk subcommittee will on Tuesday be told council staff were obtaining data from other councils to benchmark its performance against similar-sized facilities.
But Ashburton EA Networks Centre manager Steven Prescott said comparing the centre to others around the country would be a "fruitless exercise".
Prescott, who was in charge of Dunedin's Moana Pool for 16 years, said each area and each region was different.
"I really don't think they are going to get any interesting or reliable data that's going to give them anything."
Accidents always happened, and the best thing was for lifeguards to have proper training, Prescott said.
A report prepared ahead of Tuesday's meeting says the council is confident its safety processes are robust, but the council is not "complacent".
Corporate services group manager Tina Rogers was not able to comment of the report ahead of the meeting.
CBay centre manager Craig Motley said he did not have figures available for incidents this year, but he was happy with how the pool dealt with situations as they arose.
Pool staff did a good job of keeping things "as safe but still as fun as possible".
The leisure pool at the facility was revamped last year.
Complaints about slippery tiles prompted the council to revisit the issue last July, but Motley said as far as he was concerned that problem was now "done and dusted".
The centre has a modern fitness and leisure centre, with three indoor heated pools, a 50m outdoor heated pool, two hydroslides, a children's water play area, rapid river, bombing tower and an area with steam, sauna and spa facilities.
- The Timaru Herald