Both historically and hysterically the words “councils” and “common sense” often haven’t been used in the same sentence.
Over the years councils could regularly be found at the front of the formation when it comes to organising a line-up of the fun police.
In 2017 the City of Mandurah in WA outlawed remote-controlled toys in parks and reserves. If you were caught using a remote-controlled car, boat or plane you could face a fine of up to $5000 or even time in jail.
Weirdly, media reports at the time stressed both dogs and drones were exempt from the law. Don’t ask us to explain why or how.
The Mandurah Council introduced the ban in October 2017 and scrapped it in November the same year after a public outcry.
Just recently the City of Ballarat Council had to back down on a local law which would have required all local groups to have a permit to meet in public. A local greyhound walking group took issue with the council’s plan and fair to say the group’s bite was far worse than its bark.
This is not just an Australian phenomenon though. A town in Poland banned Winnie the Pooh from a playground because of his “dubious sexuality” and “inappropriate” dress. Not kidding. In Singapore, you could be fined up to $190 flushing a public toilet. Actually, we like the idea of this law.
So has the reputation of our councils being “the fun police” been well earned? Well, that’s for others to judge but when it comes to council policy causing an end to simple, harmless, fun activities by kids in public pools then it would be hard to argue.
Earlier this year, the Illawarra Mercury reported a council policy ruling out “no non-competitive swimming” at school swimming carnivals at public pools.
This effectively meant an end to novelty events such as pool noodle challenges and boogie board races.
Greens councillor Mithra Cox took up the baton in regards to her council’s “pool fun ban” and has come out swimmingly.
On Monday night, council staff will present a report which has recommended changes to the council policy removing the restriction on “no non-competitive swimming”.
A stroke of common sense. Get your noodles ready kids, the races are back on. And, at least for now, the fun police are back in their box.