After delaying the vote on a new isolated pool fence bylaw in Hamilton this past April, city councillors reconvened and voted against changing the rules that would have affected new residential pool installations in 2017.
According to a CBC News report, tougher pool safety rules versus parental supervision responsibilities were the main discussion points during the lengthy debate by city councillors, which resulted in a close 9-5 vote against the proposed four-sided pool fencing bylaw.
“We raised seven kids over 20 years on a very, very active farm,” said Rob Pasuta, Ward 14 councillor. Watching the kids “was like taking a breath. It’s up to parents to do that. It’s not up to pool owners to install another fence.”
Other councillors agreed with statements brought forward by various swimming pool business owners who said the bylaw would create a false sense of security, and instead stressed the importance of parental supervision and education about pool safety.
One councillor who voted in favour of the bylaw was Sam Merulla of Ward 4.
“Even with the best intentions, accidents happen, said Merulla in the report. “And the swimming pool industry has a financial stake in the decision. If I was in the pool business, I would be saying exactly what those people in the pool business are saying.”
As a result of the decision, the city will still update its pool enclosure bylaw, but it will not stipulate the need for additional fencing around swimming pools.