The Federation Council has agreed to allow children aged 12 and over to use the Corowa Aquatic Center without supervision.
Convened at their monthly meeting on December 23 of last year, councilors voted to reduce the previous policy’s unsupervised admission age from 16 to 12.
As reported by the Corowa Free Press, all councilors agreed with the age reduction, but two councilors, Aaron Nicholls and Sally Hughes, voted against the change due to legal risks and called for further investigation.
While appreciating the concerns about risk management, Federation Council Deputy Mayor Shaun Whitechurch commented “at the end of the day we really need to lower the age requirement because 16 year olds go to the river without the supervision of a parent or guardian… we’re pushing them out of the center of the pool.
Deputy Mayor Whitechurch said members of the public had asked councilors to make a change and malicious messages emerged through other media.
An example of a Wodonga WAVES aquatic center that has had an unattended admission policy for 10 years was cited during the debate.
In order to assess proof of age, Federation Council Director of Development and Environmental Services Susan Appleyard said staff would look for a phone number or other form of contact for a parent or guardian. , explaining “that there will be a stricter policy on the dismissal of those who act inappropriately.” . “
Summarizing the movement, Mayor Pat Bourke felt that all councilors were in favor of the age reduction and added “it is up to our staff to follow any inappropriate behavior. They will still be in charge once they (children 12 and over) walk through the doors.
Royal Life Saving Society – Australia’s Keep Watch at Public Pools public education guidelines state that children between the ages of 11 and 14 should be supervised by a parent or guardian who should “maintain eye contact”.
Royal Life Saving’s Pool Operations Safety Guidelines – Aquatic Supervision (GSPO) section contains advice for children over 10 years of age.
While children under five should be kept within easy reach of a parent or guardian, and children under 10 should be kept under constant supervision by a parent or guardian, GSPO SV14.3 advises:
- For children ten (10) years old and over, parents should use their knowledge of the child’s swimming ability to determine the level of support required.
- If a staff member is concerned about the safety of an unsupervised child, they have the option of removing the child from the water
- An unsupervised child who is not able to swim, regardless of age, must be removed from the water by a member of staff
Staff are also required to remove children of all ages who are not swimmers or weak swimmers from the water and / or ensure adequate supervision.
Located in the Ball Park neighborhood, Corowa’s $ 10.3 million Aquatic Center officially opened in April of last year.
The Federation Council is located in the Riverina region of New South Wales.
Images: Corowa Aquatic Center. Credit: Federation Council.
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