A BARGAIN inflatable pool bought as an early Christmas present has turned into an expensive nightmare for a Warrnambool mother, who faces a huge bill to meet new safety standards.
City resident Jade Green bought two blow-up pools at the discounted price of $59 each this week, only to discover that state government regulations mean she would have to install a $2000 fence in order for the installation to be legal.
She told The Standard she was unaware that small-scale inflatable pools 30cm or more deep needed to be fenced until she bought the product and unwrapped it at home.
The young mother bought the pool as a Christmas present for her eight-month-old son Tyler.
“It’s absolutely crazy. I was so surprised when I found out,” Ms Green said.
“When you buy a pool like that, you don’t expect that you’ll have to pay $2000 to put a fence around it.
“I just wanted to warn people that when you buy a pool, even if it’s small, you might be up for a huge bill if you ever want to fill it with water and use it.”
Ms Green said she discovered a sticker at the base of the product’s cardboard wrapping which suggested that owners needed to contact their local council before using the inflatable pool.
“I’d been planning to buy an inflatable pool for a few weeks and by the time I got around to it, there weren’t that many left on the shelf,” she said.
“There’ll probably be a fair few people returning their pools.”
Approved safety barriers are required for any swimming or wading pool statewide that are capable of containing a volume of water greater than 30 centimetres in depth.
State regulations cover soft-edged and inflatable pools as well as permanent in-ground and above-ground pools, spas and hot tubs.
Warrnambool City Council municipal building surveyor Peter Keen said a building permit was required to install or alter a safety fence and can be obtained through any of the five south-west shires.
He said councils were responsible for enforcing state government legislation and could issue on-the-spot fines for failure to comply with safety barrier requirements.
“Drowning is the most common cause of preventable death for children under five in Victoria,” Mr Keen said.
“These laws are put in place to protect lives and prevent such tragedies from occurring.
“Installing a fence might be an inconvenience but it is a small price to pay for saving a life.” Mr Keen said south-west residents should keep the legislation in mind before purchasing an inflatable pool this summer.
“Wading pools are very affordable and are sold at most discount and department stores so they become a popular purchase around this time of year,” he said.
“It’s important to consider the cost of the fence and building permit before buying a pool.”
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