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Coaldale town council rescinds private pool bylaw

Posted on June 10, 2020 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

Coaldale town council had rescinded an old bylaw pertaining to private pools in town.

During their regular May 25 meeting, Coaldale town council reviewed Bylaw 658, which regulates private pools in the municipality. First adopted in 1976, the bylaw contains regulations pertaining to the installation of private swimming pools, which are in addition to those found in the town’s Land Use bylaw and the provincial regulations in the Alberta Building code.

While the Land Use bylaw covers issues such as how close to the property line you are allowed to build an in-ground pool, the pool bylaw speaks more to issues of safety, which are covered in the Safety Codes Act and administered by safety code agencies.

Due to a rarity of pool installations in town, administration says that it is unlikely that a stand alone pool bylaw would be reviewed and updated consistently to accommodate changes to broader regulations or technology for pools, and recommended that council rescinds the bylaw. Provincial regulations would remain in effect, and are more vigorous than the town’s bylaw.

“What we’re fundamentally looking at here, if I may, is a question of overlapping regulation and trying to create a certain efficiency with respect to the governing of this particular issue in the town,” said Cam Mills, manager of economic and community development for the town.

Mills gave the example of the pool bylaw stating that you must have a six-foot high fence around the pool area to stop people from accessing the pool from offsite. However, the Alberta Building code states that you need either a fence or a safety cover, the latter which the pool bylaw doesn’t cover.

“For the most part, the overlap is fairly seamless,” said Mills. “However, things change over time, and the reality is, from a planning a development department’s perspective, we don’t deal with private pool installations very often. And so as pool technology has changed, and as provincial regulations with respect to safety codes change, which happens fairly frequently, we don’t necessarily deal with this issue and so these types of bylaws tend to fall behind.

“The struggle we have is that when we get development permit questions that come in, we look to the bylaw, we don’t necessarily go through 40 years worth of older bylaws that are passed, we are not familiar with something like this, and we certainly don’t have enough expertise in how to notice every time some particular safety innovation comes into place with pools to come back to you and update that bylaw. So from my perspective, the regulations that are in place that are provided by the province are sufficient to manage the safety of private pool installation in town and having an additional bylaw on top of that creates, potentially, another hoop to jump through that is perhaps, doesn’t achieve much and perhaps can fall behind a little bit with perspective to what makes the most sense for these types of situations.”

Eliminating the pool bylaw would also bring Coaldale more in line with how pools are regulated in other municipalities, such as the City of Lethbridge. The rescindment would not affect the public community pool, as the bylaw focuses only on private swimming pools.

Council unanimously passed a motion to rescind Bylaw 658 and, furthermore, that no new bylaw be established to regulate private pools at this time.

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