|Caithness Community Web Site|
Eye On Swimming Pool Problems
To the John O'Groat Journal Friday 13 April 2001
We understand that at Monday’s meeting of the Highland Councillors representing Caithness, officials have again refused to relax the restrictions imposed at the counties two public pools. It appears that no relaxation will be considered until the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management issue revised guidelines. It is our opinion that the issuing of guidelines by this South based organisation, whenever this takes place, will not improve safety in our pools.
Since this begun over six months ago we have argued that to much emphasis has been put on restricting access and not enough on countering the perceived risks identified from the officials risk assessment. In view of this after consulting with a number of other pool users we have been continually putting forward the following suggestions to both officials and Councillors -
1. Lifeguards being aware of their responsibilities if pool users are not being responsible.
2. Revised life guarding position bearing in mind the low wall dividing the main pool and the toddlers pool is not satisfactory as advised by the councils Health & Safety officer.
3. The provision of a “highchair” as used in other pools for improved views.
4. Blinds or special paint on windows to counter glare which was seen as a risk in the assessment.
5. Clarification of the numbers of staff at pool side as we understand that every Saturday and Sunday when most families go swimming there are three lifeguards on duty, a number more than adequate to monitor the safety of everyone who would want to go swimming.
We were promised verbally that a review of procedures along these lines would be done in January of this year and then advised in writing that the review would be conducted by the end of march.
This week’s developments make us question whether there was ever any intention to carry out such a review and it angers us that we along with the families that took part in the protest and nearly 500 members of the public that signed the petition have been “led up the garden path” by our paid servants.
Not until this review has been carried out and the results made public will we be satisfied that the officials are genuinely interested in safety and not simply unwilling to lose face by relaxing the restrictions that were imposed in a panic, days after the tragedy in Inverness.
We would encourage everyone with similar concerns to make their feelings clear to both the Council’s Cultural and Leisure department and their local Councillor.
Deirdre Aitken, Moray View Avenue, Staxigoe
Allan Tait, Dempster Street, Wick
Valerie Webster, Hill Avenue, Wick