Pool unsupervised admission reduced

Children aged 12-years are now permitted to attend the Corowa Aquatic Centre unsupervised.

Children aged 12-years are now being admitted to the Corowa Aquatic Centre unsupervised, instead of the previous 16-years-of-age policy.

Federation Council agreed to the reduced age admission at its monthly meeting on December 23.

All councillors agreed with the age reduction but two councillors, Aaron Nicholls and Sally Hughes, voted against the change because of legal risk concerns and sought further investigation.

Deputy mayor Shaun Whitechurch said he totally appreciated concerns about risk management. “But at the end of the day we really need to reduce the age requirement because children aged 16-years are going to the river without parent or guardian supervision; we’re pushing them out from the pool centre.

Cr Whitechurch said councillors have been asked by members of the public to make a change and some unkind messages have appeared via other media. He suggested the age reduction be 14-years.

Cr Gail Law supported the age reduction push, in fact, suggested 12-years without parental or guardian supervision, siting Wodonga WAVES Aquatic Centre administering a 10-years-old admission without supervision policy.

“It’s school holiday and Mums don’t want to down there with their 16-year-olds having to watch them,” Cr Law said.

“People have got to be responsible for their own actions. If you don’t think your child is capable of being in the pool then you go down there with him or her. I know it’s not a baby-sitting service but we’ve got to be sensible about this.”

Cr Nicholls enquired about proof of age entering the centre. Council’s director development and environmental services Susan Appleyard said staff would seek a phone number or some other form of contact for a parent or guardian. “There will be a stricter policy on removing those acting inappropriately,” she added.

Cr Hughes asked if it would be possible for staff from the centre to address council. I’m just concerned about the legal side of staff at the pool. Tasking council staff to do it is pretty stressful,” she said.

Referring to the motion on admission of 12-year-olds without supervision, Cr Whitechurch said: “We need to do this now otherwise it will drag on and we’ll get nowhere. Summer’s here, the school holidays are on and we must act, effective immediately or as soon as possible.”

Summing up the situation, Mayor Pat Bourke sensed that all councillors were in favour of the age reduction and added: “It’s up to our staff to follow up any misbehaviour. They will always be in charge once they (the 12-years-old plus children) walk through the doors.”

Located at the Ball Park Precinct, Corowa’s $10.3 million Aquatic Centre was officially opened by swimming pool advisory committee member Ida Mensforth on April 19, 2021.

It comprises a 50m outdoor pool, a 25m heated indoor pool, a splash park and a café.

With the age reduction admission without parental or guardian supervision, many more youngsters are expected to attend the centre.

New signage at Corowa Aquatic Centre indicating recent changes to the age limit into the facility.