Mishap forces garden to add staff

Painter and decorator Eric Ross yesterday paints a metal safety railing which was added to this low bridge at the Dunedin Chinese Garden last month. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Painter and decorator Eric Ross yesterday paints a metal safety railing which was added to this low bridge at the Dunedin Chinese Garden last month. Photo by Craig Baxter.

An incident during which a child fell into a pool at the Dunedin Chinese Garden has sparked a full health and safety review, and the need to increase staffing is likely to add to financial pressures on the garden.

It was revealed yesterday that a child, aged about 5, fell into the water at the Dunedin City Council-owned Chinese Garden in January.

The child, who had been accompanied by a family member, was unhurt.

A Dunedin City Council health and safety officer had since reviewed health and safety arrangements, Toitu acting director Jennifer Evans told a Toitu Otago Settlers Museum Board meeting yesterday. The Toitu museum took over running the garden from July 1 last year.

A financial monitoring report tabled at yesterday's meeting said there would be ''Chinese Garden staffing budget impacts'' from the current health and safety requirement ''to have three staff and not two at all times''.

Jennifer EvansA statement of financial performance also tabled at the meeting showed that external operating revenue for the garden was $185,000 for the first 11 months of the financial year. This was $59,000 below the $244,000 budget for the period.

Ms Evans said the initial consent for the garden had required supervision of visitors, and the garden had at that stage been given an exemption from the general requirement to fence pools.

It was now a health and safety requirement for a third staff member to be on duty at the garden, Ms Evans said.

Prompt action had been taken, a third staff member was on duty and some safety railings were also installed, Ms Evans said.

At the meeting, some board members queried why an extra staff member was needed, and asked if volunteers could carry out the health and safety duties.

Ms Evans said the garden's health and safety obligations could not be fully met by volunteers, and an extra staff member was required.

The two main usual staff on duty were dealing with, respectively, ticketing and running the shop.

Garden management had always taken supervision requirements seriously, with volunteers helping and security staff employed when large functions were held.

Many visitors had been at the garden on the day of the accident and ''extra supervision'' had also been provided that day.

Since then, further safety measures had been taken and matters would be reviewed later.

''We take our health and safety very seriously,'' she said.

- john.gibb@odt.co.nz

Hard rocks

My, those rocks look very very hard, bubble wrap perhaps?


Another knee-jerk reaction?

Just because a parent/guardian fails in their duty to watch a child, then the Garden has to change how it does things. In all the time its been open, how many incidents have there been? Yet another knee-jerk reaction by DCC 

Is this a joke?

The ratepayers need to employ another person to supervise? This is the responsibility of the parent/guardian, not the ratepayer.

As a dog owner, I must be responsible for and in control of my dog at all times. I'm liable for a fine if I'm not, and that should also be the case for parents/guardians.

Stop wasting money and put a sign at the gate that all children under a certain age must be supervised by a parent or guardian. It's that simple.

Health and safety is just a joke and the biggest waste of taxpayer money after ACC being paid for sporting injuries. I have had to deal with these health and safety clowns through business. One thing I will tell you is that when told they are a waste of taxpayer funding when all that is required is common sense, they have little in the way of reply. 

No No No

"Authentic" Chinese Gardens would not have stupid safety rails destroying the views.  A kid fell in, they got pulled out, they learnt a lesson. The child's life will be better for the experience.

Ms Evans, by employing extra staff and having these rails installed you are wasting ratepayer money and destroying the garden. 20 extra staff members would not have prevented the supervised child falling in. Our young family visits many times a year. Currently, we regularly take out of town guests. My children love it there, but I can see that soon we will no longer be able to go as it will be bad for our mental health.

What is next? Fencing Moana pool? The pond in The Butterfly House? The Duck Pond at the gardens? Ross Creek? St Clair Beach? The Harbour? Your staff would be better served lingering in the Cafe warning people not to eat so much cake or telling people there to cut back on their caffeine.

Absurd PC nonsense

This health and safety measure is ridiculous. Whatever happened to parents taking responsibility for their own children? The child was not hurt, after all.

Does this mean the pond at the Botanic Gardens should be cordoned off so the kids don't fall in while feeding the ducks? Maybe all the trees there should be cut down to a couple of feet, or less, lest any kid climbs one and falls down. How about some extra padding at the McDonalds style plastic playgrounds in the city?

Or perhaps the council could employ an army of chaperones for any children who look like they are being neglected by their parents while out in the community.

Chinese Garden

Surely this is a parent/guardian issue rather than another ratepayer one, isn't it ?

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