I would tell them that it is ridiculous to tell Operators across the country that portable pool lifts were a viable solution for bringing multiple pools into compliance for 15 months and then reverse that decision in the 11th hour AFTER dozens of facilities had already purchased lifts. I can't speak for anyone else but I assured my Board that purchasing one portable lift was the best and most economical solution just 4 weeks BEFORE this ruling came out.
I would ask them if they hate swimming. At this rate if they keep coming out with new and increasingly ridiculous regulations, very few of us are going to be able to afford to survive. Does anyone have any numbers on how many pools had to permanently shutdown because of VGBA? I know my facility can not afford the $20k it is going to cost us to install the lifts they want us to install.
Is there any intention to clean up the vague language in this statement, "A physical change to a swimming pool which affects or could affect the usability of the pool is considered to be an alteration. When pools are altered, the alterations must comply with the 2010 Standards, to the maximum extent feasible?" Unelected bureaucrats are going to decide what could affect usability, and they will decide what the maximum extent feasible is. The language is murky at best, and I think there will be facilities that refuse to update and remodel existing pools when faced with the costs to bring the facility current on ADA standards. Your average discount motel may very well choose to fill the pool with dirt, thus hurting aquatic construction companies that would normally see that business. The DOJ is causing more problems than they are solving.
I believe exeryone in our country should have access to our pools, I also believe that we have done a good job in the past of making sure that people with disabilities have access to our facilities. As an industry we have not tried to hide form our obligations to the poeple we serve, but we are an industry that has challenges when it comes to the costs associated with capital improvements at our facilities (ramps for kiddie pools, zero depth entries) and even purchasing of small equipment like lifts. Although at $6-7,000 a lift is not a huge expenditure, it is however a large investment and does break our $5,000 small item purchasing ability. Installing new lifts and the deck cores for mounting permanent lifts that comes with not being able to use portable lifts is the insane part of the rules. If I put my portable lift out at the pool everytime I open the pool so it is accessible to users without having to ask for assistance, then that should be good enough. My portable lifts allow me to drop someone in the pool whenever they want to be, the deep end for rehab, the shallow end for water exercise, the warm therapy pool. I do not believe this is similar to VGB where the drain and vacuum release manufacturers were involved and advocating, but I do think it has gone down a similar road in regard to the portable lift issues being similar to the drain covers required in a dual drain deep end of the pool.
Portable lifts -- has anyone tried moving a portable lift? How about moving one with a cane?
We understand what they are trying to do -- but without doubt they will be making many pools less accessible (pools closing) than accessible.
DOJ thanks for the help.