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Inflatable pools subject to fence bylaw

Inflatable pools deeper than 30 inches will require a building permit and protective fence the same as permanent structures, Wellesley Township council decided this week.

The decision follows a review of the fence bylaw, which states that any pool deeper than 0.8 metres must be enclosed by a fence a minimum five feet high, with lockable gates.

The issue first surfaced at council in July, when resident Kim Ruthig asked council to return the $125 building permit fee he paid to install a permanent pool, noting other residents had simply gone ahead and erected theirs. At the time, council was unable to decide whether temporary pools such as inflatable pools should be included in the bylaw and referred the question back to staff.

In his report to council, chief building official Rik Louwagie noted that the danger of drowning is present with any pool, regardless of type, and it would be easier to ensure the fence requirements are met if a permit is required. He also recommended a public information program to make residents aware of the requirements.

Coun. Herb Neher questioned the wisdom of requiring someone to get a permit for an inflatable pool that can easily be moved.

“He has to get a building permit? He’s not building anything there. If I put up a tent in my backyard for a few weeks, I don’t need a permit,” Neher said.

“I just think we’re inviting government more and more into our backyards with some of these bylaws. Are we going to say next that all limbs on trees have to be cut down in case a child climbs the tree and breaks its neck?”

Mayor Ross Kelterborn said he supported including temporary pools under the bylaw.

“I still feel from the safety point and the need to work within the bounds of the budget that this fits what we need.”

In the end the motion passed on a 3-1 vote, with Neher opposed.

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