Kapiti’s PC councillors forget that water safety – like charity – should begin at home

So where's the safety fence?

Remember how the PC prats on the Kapiti Coast District Council opted to fork out up to $10,000 for two new welcome signs emblazoned with macrons?

This was a follow-up to their vote two years ago to place macrons over the “a” in Kapiti, the “o” in Otaki and the second and third “a” in Paekakariki. At no small expense.

Well, the buggers are promoting a fresh idea to demonstrate that their district is a place best avoided.

They are calling on Kapiti Coast residents to fence ponds bordering their properties – and even some ornamental goldfish ponds – as if they were swimming pools.

Water fountains could also be affected if they are 400 millimetres or more deep.

Stuff tells us the district council’s regulatory committee voted this week to send letters to 122 urban property owners advising them to fence ponds “associated” with their properties under the Swimming Pools Act 1987.

The decision followed a report saying the council had received legal opinions clearly stating that “a stormwater detention pond and other similar water bodies are covered by the definition of a pool in the act”.

It said there would potentially be “a significant cost” to property owners, and council chief executive Pat Dougherty also stated: “I acknowledge installing a complying fence may be costly.”

But guess what?

Ponds on rural land don’t have to be fenced (fair enough) and ponds on council land are exempt.

Mind you, the mayor seems prepared to over-ride the exemption (at ratepayers’ expense, no doubt).

Although ponds on council land are exempt, Kapiti Mayor Jenny Rowan suggested yesterday that the council would look at securing all waterways.

While saying safety was critical on private properties, “it is also beholden on the council to make sure its waterways are safe. Even though there is no legal obligation, we will be looking at that”.

So are the toddlers of Kapiti particularly prone to drowning like lemmings?

Not that Alf can see.

In early February, as many young children had drowned this year as in the whole of 2010.

Six young children drowned in a month.

Six – throughout the whole of the country.

General manager of Water Safety New Zealand, Matt Claridge, says six preschoolers have drowned in the past month which is the same number as for the whole of last year.

But whoa, there, before you rush to fence your ponds.

Mr Claridge says most young children drown either in the bath, or in home swimming pools and says it pays to be careful around water.

An Australian site says drowning accounts for the majority of accidental deaths in kids under the age of five in Australia – and a vast number of these drownings occur in the bath.

Kapiti residents should draw these data to the attention of their council.

Obviously the clowns who run the show will be persuaded then to require fences around all bath-tubs.

Or – even better – the banning of baths.

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