Sinking under regulations

Barbara
Barbara Dean-Simmons
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Here’s one to file in the category of “if it wasn’t for regulation we’d be just fine.”

The folks in Plate Cove had a bright idea way back in 1967.

They built a swimming pool.

It wasn’t a costly indoor structure and it had no expensive water pumps, chlorination or filtration systems to maintain.

It’s just a simple concrete box; strategically placed to take advantage of a natural stream.

Water from the stream fills the pool and continuously runs through it, spilling into the ocean at the other end of the concrete structure.

Essentially, it’s like swimming in a box that’s been placed in the middle of a stream.

The box creates the swimming area, nature does the rest.

And all was well with this setup for many years.

Generations of children from Plate Cove whiled away many summer days with a swim, beating the heat and getting exercise at the same time.

Then Hurricane Igor struck the area in 2010 and the pool needed some work.

The Recreation Committee applied to the province for funding to fix up their local swimming hole.

That’s when they started to get dragged under by government regulations.

Service Newfoundland and Labrador, the department with the mandate to enforce the rules under the Public Health Act, deemed the pool did not meet regulations.

In order to be safe for public use the pool, the department said, had to have a filtration system and a chlorination system.

The local recreation committee simply doesn’t have the money to be able to finance that sort of thing.

Their simple swimming solution, which worked well for years, with minimal cost; Mother Nature doesn’t charge for use of her streams.

Last year the kids didn’t get to swim in Plate Cove Pool.

This year they are but the recreation committee worries that another shutdown will come if the province can’t clarify the status of Plate Cove Pool.

The confusion lies in the fact that the rules that shut them down last year — the Public Pool Regulations under the Public Health Act — also contain a paragraph that appears to exempt pools like the one in Plate Cove.

If we interpret the rules correctly, any pool that’s fed by running water or is situation like a dam on a body of water, would not have to be chlorinated.

Seems simple enough.

The folks in Plate Cove and the local recreation committee shouldn’t have to worry about legal repercussions of using their pool.

So can someone from the province, or Service NL, set this straight and provide assurances to the Plate Cove Recreation Commission that the stream-fed concrete box swimming hole is okay.

In hindsight, the folks in Plate Cove might have been a little too honest when they went to the province looking for money to fix their pool last year.

Perhaps they should have just called it a dam.

 

Barbara Dean-Simmons

Regional Editor, TC Media

Organizations: Recreation Committee, Newfoundland and Labrador, Service NL Plate Cove Recreation Commission

Geographic location: Plate Cove

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