12th Annual Country Pool Managers Seminar
"Maintaining the Network"


This year's Country Pool Managers Seminar was held in Waroona which is 108 km south of Perth.

The Shire of Waroona stretches from 'sea to scarp' ie the Indian Ocean to the Darling Range.

There was an excellent response with 38 pool managers (and 49 delegates in total) in attendance from the Wheatbelt, South-West, Great Southern and Peel regions.

The quality of presentations was a feature. The seminar was able to attracted Marg Hemsley, Director of Risk Management from the Local Government Insurance Service, Alex McKenzie, Executive Director of the Royal Life Saving Society and Gary Johnson, Technical Officer- Swimming Pools from the Tamworth Regional Council.

The Seminar was officially opened by Cr Noel Dew, Shire President of Shire of Waroona. Vanessa Chrisp (Centre Manager) guided delegates on an informative tour of the facility. The Waroona Recreation and Aquatic Centre is one of the most innovative indoor heated pools in WA. The aquatic area consists of a six lane salt water pool with a water slide and a toddler's pool with fountains. The pool caters for lap swimmers, recreational swimmers, private lessons, swimming clubs, aqua-aerobics, school and other clubs and vacation and in term swimming lessons. The centre also caters for squash, badminton, indoor hockey, cricket, netball, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, tennis, karate etc as well as social functions, meetings and seminars.

Our keynote presentation from Gary Johnson was titled 'Coronial Inquests - An experiential guide'. Gary began his aquatic career in 1986 with Burning Palms Surf Life Saving Club and currently works for the recently amalgamated Tamworth Regional Council in NSW, overseeing the operation of six public swimming pools in the area.

In 2001 Gary was required to appear before a Coroner as part of an inquest into the death of a 2 year old boy who drowned at the Gunnedah facility while he was on duty. Gary shared his experience. He highlighted the point that while there is a lot of information on preventing drowning little information existed on what happens when prevention fails.

The presentation clarified the role of the Coroner, his powers and the diverse range of parties involved in an inquest. Detail was provided on what happens after a drowning from an emotional and operational level - how it affects you, your team and your life.,,, It was a most compelling and moving presentation.

'It really pleases me to talk about this matter. The responsibilities our Lifeguards carry are seldom recognised and they can occasionally find themselves on the receiving end of the very thing they set out to prevent.' [Gary Johnson]

Peter Leaversuch provided an outline of the process Royal Life Saving undertakes when it is called upon as an expert witness to review drowning incidents. A causation framework or checklist was provided to delegates.

Marg Hemsley rounded off this topic was a presentation titled 'Resilience, Support, Survival'. It was great for delegates to learn about the vast array services provided by LGIS which included;

  • Training in communication and stress management
  • Assistance with development of systems and processes
  • Counselling and critical incident debriefing


LGIS also fund Royal Life Saving and LIWA deliver:

  • Risk assessments, training and facilitation
  • 24-hour Pools Hotline (9771 6196)

After lunch, Health Department representative, Jared Koutsoukos provided a summary of issues being considered by the Aquatic Facility 'Working Party' and also the important role operators of public facilities could play in mentoring and assisting the hotel and caravan park industries.

The next session was a workshop where all delegates moved through three areas of interest in;

  1. Water Quality;
  2. How to read your water examination laboratory water sample results (what do they really mean,
  3. Water Testing and Chemical Handling.

There were some great questions and sharing of information between all.

Clint Klymovich from the Department of Sport and Recreation focused on the important role aquatic centres play in terms of community development, sport, health and fitness.

Karin Kelly spoke about the new Code of Practice's requirement for the Accreditation of all Group 1 Pool Operators and the new LIWA Accreditation Certificate which is to remain with the Aquatic Facility and made available, when requested by an Environmental Health Officer.

Next, Lauren Nimmo presented an overview of Watch Around Water program for 2008, identifying new resources including new poster designs and promotional materials. The program's success was attributed to the strong commitment of Pool Mangers working together on this important community message.

Heather Preston presented Pool Life Guard and Pool Operations training statistics and undertook a 'validation' process to gather feedback that will ensure these programs continue to meet industry needs.

The "Around the pools" session gave everyone an opportunity to pass on what's been happening in their facility and explain about some of their issues, programs, problems and projects.

The wrap up came with delegates being thanked for their participation in an enlightening seminar and thanks was also extended to the sponsors who generosity allows these seminars to happen.

Finally, big thanks to Karin Kelly for her vision and drive which made this Seminar a great success.

LIWA Aquatics is again here to help those in the Aquatics Industry whether in the city or regional centres to achieve a way of "Maintaining the Network".

Chris Blankley
Vice President - LIWA Aquatics

Business & Trade Members are entitled to display a banner here for only $100pa - Contact us

Contact LIWA

We provide support, professional development and networking opportunities for individuals in the aquatic industry throughout Western Australia.

  1. PO Box 726, Hillarys, WA 6923
  2. (08) 9383 8238
  3. Email using this form

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