Summer sizzles, but Legacy Park pool slide on slippery slope

dthackham@fortmilltimes.comJuly 10, 2013 

— While summer swings into high gear, some residents of Legacy Park are sizzling over S.C. regulations that have interfered with the operation of the community’s pool.

One concerned resident has been speaking out against DHEC’s decision to reclassify rules that effectively limit the hours two large slides at the pool can be used during the week. Laura Bain was expecting to argue at a Legacy Park pool committee meeting this week to convince other residents to reject any move by the community’s board of directors to comply with DHEC. Instead, Bain wants DHEC to reapprove the lifeguard coverage plan they’ve sent to Columbia. Bain says the plan would have them operating above minimum safety standards for Type E pools in the law and DHEC’s internal regulations.

(The meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, after this week’s Fort Mill Times went to press; for updates, go to fortmilltimes.com).

The Legacy Park pool, because it has the slides, is classified as a Type “E” pool under state regulations, but has a variance to operate as a Type “B” pool when the slides are closed and secured. All Type “E” pools are required to submit a lifeguard coverage plan for review to DHEC. Bain said the board has submitted three lifeguard plans to DHEC but so far, the state health regulator is sticking to a requirement that Legacy Park keep five paid staff members on hand for every 26 swimmers – three to watch the swimmers, one to watch the slide and another available in case of emergency.

Bain said she feels this is “very excessive and unreasonable.”

On June 25, DHEC official David Wilson sent a letter to Legacy Park Homeowner’s Association President Melvin Stroble that said in part, “until such time as the Department adopts regulations to address the approval of plans for lifeguard coverage at Type E pools,” the pool must be operated under Type A regulations.

Wilson said there is not a “nationally recognized standard for lifeguard coverage” for Type E pools, so DHEC has use its own discretion to ensure safety.

Bain disagrees.

“I hope to plead my case convincingly enough that Legacy Park will decide against working with DHEC and being the ‘guinea pig’ Type E pool for the state,” she said.

The mother of a kindergartner and a 2-year-old who regularly enjoy the community pool, Bain says the 790 homes in her community deserve to enjoy the pool’s slides every day of the week. As of July 3, Bain noted that another member of the Board of Directors, Troy Guild, had worked out an agreement to continue the slides’ operations on a limited schedule for the rest of the swim season, but as of Monday, it had not been accepted for use. Legacy Park is spending more money to operate the slides on the limited basis for seven days a week. Legacy Park closes its pool on Labor Day.

Deborah Long, (R-Dist. 45), Indian Land’s representative in the S.C. House, said she’s looking into the situation and talking to DHEC about an agreeable solution.

Meanwhile, Bain said her children and the majority of Legacy Park residents are missing out on enjoying the full functions of their pool during a hot summer.

“The board did meet and assign someone to this issue,” she wrote in an e-mail to the Fort Mill Times, but she said she’s concerned the board is not getting enough input from residents to effectively represent them when dealing with DHEC.

“I hope to convince [the board member meeting with DHEC] that he is putting [Legacy Park] at risk by operating in this manner.”

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