154 A Upland Road
25 February 2011
To Whom It May Concern
We built our house with swimming pool in 2004 and received our pool permit until May 2009, whereupon the Auckland City Council requested another inspection. This was performed and to our great surprise, the officer informed us that further work was necessary. This news was unexpected as everything had been built strictly following the regulations.
We completed some of the smaller jobs required but were waiting for the Auckland City Council to get back to us regarding the fencing, as the officer had declared our concrete walls were no longer adequate as children may climb the neighbour’s fence and jump over our wall. This really surprised us as nothing had changed around the property since we built the house. We submitted a letter in August 2009, with the help of our architect, to explain that everything was built following regulations in 2004, and since we had received a pool permit upon completion, why was our pool no longer compliant?
It took the Auckland City Council 7 months to respond to us with a completely different story. They now required we build a fence around the pool and condemned our windows which faced the pool. Many emails were sent back and forth and by the end of August we had discovered through quotes that it would cost us approximately $20,000 to make our pool compliant. We felt this was ridiculous as all our windows had latches 185cm from the floor and we would not be able to use the pool properly or even access parts of it for cleaning with a glass fence around it.
A search on the internet revealed the story of a group in the Waitakere’s who had won their pool case against their City Council in 2006. I managed to contact Gary Osborne from the Pool Owner’s Action Group and joined the group for the small fee of $110.00. From then, Gary helped me write to the CEO of the Auckland City Council as well as two politicians in Wellington. He also talked to the Auckland City Council on my behalf obtaining answers to the questions that we had.
The following December, we received another pool inspection from two senior council officers. They recognized that the pool area was too small to fence and they were happy with our windows facing the pool and the existing latches. They suggested a small glass panel be placed on top of our wall which cost a total of $2,000.
We have now received our pool permit, and we can still enjoy our swimming pool thanks to Gary and the Pool Owners Action Group. The membership was well worth it and Gary’s advice was very welcome after being practically bullied by the first council officer on several occasions.
We would recommend the Pool Owner Action Group to anyone in a similar dilemma. It saved us a considerable sum of money and their advice would be as good as any lawyers. Gary has a remarkable understanding of the city council’s procedures and rules.
Please do not hesitate to contact me on my mobile (021 944 621) should you wish to discuss further.