LIWA Aquatics 43rd Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition
 
Introduction
The main conference room was full to capacity over with 200 delegates attending across the two days of the LIWA Aquatics Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition.  The extended Trade Exhibition Area was full of colour and importantly 43 companies promoting their goods and services to our industry.  The trade exhibition gathers more momentum every year and it was great to see some new suppliers having their first experience at a LIWA Aquatics event.
 
 
Day One
The 43rd Annual LIWA-Aquatics conference was opened by the Department of Sport and Recreations Director of Programs and Services Ms Jennifer Riatti.  Jenni has been a great supporter of the industry and LIWA Aquatics through the Organisational Sustainability Program that is in place with the Institute.  Jenni focused on some of the key achievements of the Institute over the past 12 months which included the continued operational funding through to 2013, the development of the Watch Around Water across Australia and LIWA Aquatics delivery of professional development throughout the state.  It was very gratifying to hear her comments that the Institute is often recognised by her peers at the national level of governance.
 
LIWA Aquatics President Mr Jeff Fondacaro responded to Jenni and her kind words of encouragement to the delegates and thanked her for her the continued support and attendance at this year’s annual conference.
 
The Institute gets great support from many corporate members and Links Modular Solutions is no exception.  Mika and Matt are always willing to assist with sponsorship and even though Mika was unable to join us this year she would have been there in her Twitter Heart!  Matt introduced the Key Note Speaker of the morning Ed Bradley and he held delegates spellbound for the next 50 minutes with his tales of an ordinary bloke doing some extraordinary things.
 
 
Ed’s tale and his mantra was “Risk is not a 4 Letter Word” and is something that should be managed not avoided.  This belief was very well summed up by Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face…….you must do that what you think you cannot do.”  We then heard a tale from, by his own admission a very ordinary man, conservative by nature and a banker by profession.  But as we discovered during the presentation, not such an ordinary man but an individual who was willing to, clarify his goals, take advice from others and anticipate the risks.
 
Ed embarked on a journey that took him to 4 years to achieve and took him to within 80 meters of the summit of Mount Everest.  What took him to that point and what stopped him at that point only 80 meters from his ultimate goal was a wonderful lesson to all the delegates in the room.  He obtained the skills required to manage the risks and practiced them in safe environment under expert supervision.
 
 
As a banker he was well versed in risk management practices and applied these treatments to his assault on the summit of Everest and in the end it came down to “Is it still worth the risk?  Is there is a point where the risk is greater that the reward?”  That risk was a storm that stopped him within 80 meters of his goal.  It was not acceptable and the potential consequences of attempting and failing were potentially catastrophic.  Ed made it back to Base Camp with 10 fingers and 10 toes ready to take on other ordinary tasks such as walking to the South Pole!  It was a great first up presentation enjoyed by all the delegates in the room.
 
The Delegates broke for their first look at the Trade Display that had been assembled for the conference in the Exhibition Area.  The scope of equipment and the numbers of exhibitors in attendance clearly demonstrated the importance of the LIWA Aquatic Annual Conference and Trade Display on these companies calendar of events.  The 43 Exhibitors came from across Australia and the range of products was incredibly diverse and this is easily the largest exhibition of its kind presented at any similar forum.  The delegates needed to visit all of the booths to ensure they were in the running for some great prizes that were on offer on Tuesday afternoon.
Water Efficiency and the Use of Greywater in the Aquatic Environment
 
Over the past 3 years LIWA Aquatics has been able to establish a very successful partnership with the Water Corporation that continues to flourish and benefit the industry and wider community.  Jessie Cochrane from the Water Corporation updated the delegates on the current situation of water supply for the south west which to say the least is very grim.  This year there had only been 10.2GL of runoff into our dams compared to with the August average of 80GL.  The industry will need to work hard to ensure we manage our water resources wisely again this year.
 
Jessie then introduced Josh Byrne who presented some very relevant information to the delegates from a case study that was undertaken at the Town of Cambridge's Bold Park Aquatic Centre.  The study looked at a number of areas including the potential for greywater reuse, rainwater harvesting and landscape irrigation efficiency.  The report focused on the best outcomes for the environment but was also pragmatic in its view of the payback period for up front capital and return on investment.  There is a full copy of the report on the LIWA Aquatics Website.
 
 
Inflatable Use and Industry Practice
Peter Leaversuch LIWA Aquatics Life Member and the General Manager of Planning of Royal Life Saving presented a review of the industry practice the use of inflatable devices.  Peter updated the delegates on the research RLSSWA had undertaken on industry’s behalf over the past 12 months and also included additional information from the recently released Australian Standard.
The second part of the presentation focused on the Injury Report Data that is collated each year from a number of facilities to provide an industry snapshot of where, when and to whom  injuries occur in our facilities.
 
 
Verbal Judo
After lunch and time spent in the Trade Exhibition delegates were back into a session from well known presenter Will King.  Will is an ex-policeman who during his working life has developed a program that focused on 4 distinct areas of dealing with situations where there is a potential for conflict to arise.  These included:
  • Your goal under pressure!  Why do we need one?
  • What to say and what not to say:
  • Control your biases:
  • Verbal Abuse:
The message was very much “engage your brain before opening your mouth”.  It was a great presentation and the delegates took a lot away from the session especially the martial arts of the mind!
 
 
 
 
Watch Around Water
The final presentation for the day was from Lauren Nimmo the co-ordinator for the Watch Around Water Program for LIWA Aquatics.  Lauren updated the delegates on the program and its development over the past 12 months.  There were 102 facilities using the program last year which was an increase of 17 on the previous season.  There is also now 242 facilities using Watch Around Water across Australia and it is expanding every season. We also had the development of new resources for CALD Groups, a colouring in contest, visits from Walter the Watchdog and the further development of interstate partnerships.
The message from Lauren and Jeff was to keep up the great work, ensure your facility re-registers for the 2012/13 season and if you are not registered contact Lauren This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
43rd Annual Gala Dinner
The dinner began with pre-dinner drinks in the Trade Exhibition area sponsored by Carol and Mark Harper from Commercial Aquatics Australia (formerly AVP Commercial Pools).  Our President Jeff Fondacaro then started proceedings by welcoming all our guests and delegates to the conference dinner as well as making mention of our Life Members in the audience as well as members who have been attending the conference for many of its 43 years.
 
After a beautiful main meal smorgasbord that had a range of seafood, beef, chicken and salads that saw some individuals going back more than twice, the guests settled back in for the more formal side of the evening with the presentation of the 2012 Awards.
The first award presented was for the Crazy Tie Contest which saw Alma Watson win this year and on her behalf LIWA Aquatics will make a $250 donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  Jeff then asked Jessie Cochrane and Steve Atkinson from the Water Corporation to the stage where Jessie presented an Award to our industry as Waterwise Partner and a supporter of Waterwise principle and initiatives.  Steve the presented individual awards to Jeff Fondacaro and Tony Head for their contribution in improving water efficiency in the Western Australian Aquatic Industry.
 
The next presentations were to the 20 and 30 year stalwarts of our industry including John East, Dot Snow, Doug Macaulay, Craig Smetherham and Tony Walthaus.  This is a great achievement for our industry with the Tony now into his 30th season as a Pool Manager.
 
The first of the more formal awards were presented to Gary Johnson from Tamworth Regional Council.  The Board of LIWA wanted to recognise Gary for his contribution to our journal, his adoption of and advocacy for Watch Around Water in not only his 6 pools but across NSW.  Also for the work he is doing to better understand how lifeguards supervise pools.  Well done to Gary and we look forward to working with him and assisting in the future development of the exciting new PSV project.
 
 
The second Industry Contribution Award was presented to Edward Mordarski from Sigma Chemicals and for the first time in his life Ed was speechless!  The industry has benefited greatly from Ed’s knowledge over the past 35 years and he has embraced and supported LIWA Aquatics.  As Jeff said when he presented the Award to Ed – he is just a good bloke.
 
 
 
The penultimate Award presented to Ray Sutherland an individual who really embodies the notion of what we should perceive a regional pool manager to be.  As a country manager for over 30 years it is individuals like Ray who are the backbone of our industry.  Currently he helping out across the Wheatbelt and ensuring our pools have a manager on hand to stay open is and he was recognised for his contribution in promoting LIWA Aquatics and the industry.
 
 
The final presentation was the Presidents Award for Excellence and this year it was presented to long term LIWA Aquatics Member Fran Haenni from Gingin.  This award highlights the ability of our industry personnel to promote the ethos of the Institute.  Fran has been the manager of the Gingin aquatic facility since it opened 8 years ago and goes the extra mile to ensure that all the community are engaged.  She has become integral part of this rural community getting involved in a range of community events from Australia Day Celebrations to Clean Up Australia.  She is calm and unflappable and she is a credit to our industry!  She has promoted the highest safety standards and fully embraced what LIWA Aquatics stands for and was a very worthy winner of this year’s Presidents Award for Excellence.
 
 
That was to be the final award but just as our President was getting ready for his after dinner pudding the evening was turned on its head.  It was a little known fact that the 27th of August was Jeff’s birthday and this year it was just not any birthday but a special one as our President turned 60 today!  He was presented with A Lifetime Achievement Award from LIWA Aquatics for his 20 continuous years on the Board and his outstanding leadership of the Institute as both Treasurer and President.  After a trip down memory lane via a DVD with images of Jeff at LIWA Aquatics functions, surfing and playing music it was time for the band to strike up Happy Birthday.  To Jeff’s amazement the Esplanade staff carried out a beautiful cake looking resplendent all the while sitting on a lime green surfboard – his gift from the grateful members of LIWA Aquatics.  What a great end to the 2012 presentations.
 
 
 
Day Two Conference 2012
Day two was opened by the President of LIWA Aquatics Jeff Fondacaro who welcomed the delegates who were attending today’s conference proceedings. He also recognised the winners of last nights awards and previewed the variety of presentations on the agenda for today.  As is well known, Jeff is passionate about Watch Around Water and the role it plays in promoting parental supervision on the pool deck.  But there has been a missing link in the WAW program and LIWA Aquatics believes with the work done by Gary Johnson in developing Pool Super Vision or PSV that link may have been found!
 
Gary Johnson took the delegates on a very personal journey before introducing them to a comment by John Malatak from the US Coast Guard who said “Our job, our responsibility, is to predict and then alter the future.  We have to think through all the events, decisions and circumstances that lead to drowning and then systematically disrupt them through prevention, action and outreach.”
Gary focused on the past 10 years where 34 drownings occurred in public swimming pools, which was in stark contrast to the 88 who had drowned in the 10 years prior to that time.  He put the change down to the Watch Around Water and its impact across Australia even in facilities where the program was not formalised.
 
Gary then introduced the delegates to the principles of PSV and some of the major inhibitors to supervision of water body.  Focussing on understanding just watch Lifeguards are looking at when they supervise and how we can proves they are doing their job.  This can be done through a systematic approach that is image based, verifiable and developed around sound risk management principles.  The presentation looked at the range of inhibitors that impact on lifeguard’s ability to supervise effectively and Gary has come up with some great ideas to assist the industry in up-skilling lifeguards.  More on this exciting initiative as it is further developed and refined.
 
After morning tea the delegates were back into the plenary session for a very enlightening presentation from James Ally from Energy Made Clean.  James focused on opportunities that may be a cost effective means of reducing energy and carbon emissions in aquatic recreation facilities.  James was also able to share a typical modelling workflow from the recent work at Kalgoorlie Oasis and Fremantle Leisure Centre.  The modelling is achieved through a review of the hourly gas and electricity data over a 12 month period.  The data is then reviewed to look at the various options for the facility to reduce current costs and hedge against predicted energy increases.
 
The options available included a combination of deep geothermal, shallow geothermal, cogeneration, variable speed drives, ground source heat pumps, solar and a combination of all of the above in various configurations.  Throughout the presentation James highlighted the payback period for the various options and the effect on carbon emissions each remedial action would have.  It was a very informative presentation and the industry will look with interest at the final outcomes of the Kalgoorlie and Fremantle facilities.
 
The luncheon break provided the last opportunity for delegates to have their Trade Booklet signed for the chance to win some incredible prizes in the monster raffle that is traditionally drawn after the last session of the day.  The Esplanade catering staff provided some beautiful food for lunch and delegates spent the time networking with other managers and Trade Exhibitors.  It was a great end to the 2012 Trade Exhibition and both delegates and Trade representatives expressed very positive comments about the event.
 
The last session of the day was started with a presentation by Ian Brown from Royal Life Saving who provided an update on the changes to the Training Package and the various unit codes.  It was also a chance to inform delegates that Central TAFE was no longer delivering the training as a part of its partnership with LIWA Aquatics and RLSSWA.  The training will be delivered now by RLSSWA and LIWA Aquatics and enrolment in the training now includes 1 year’s membership/accreditation to the Institute.
 
Ian commented on the success LIWA Aquatics had in dealing with Service Skills Australia regarding a change to the Pool Lifeguard skill set that included a new fitness test of a 200 meter swim in 6 minutes.  LIWA Aquatics did not see this as a valid test of fitness for a number of reasons and lobbied SSA to remove the requirement and make it a may statement in the Unit of Competence.  This was achieved and the Unit of Competence SISCAQU307A has reverted back to the original text.
 
Llew Withers from the Department of Health was the next speaker and delivered a presentation on the new Faecal Containment Policy for Western Australian Aquatic facilities.  LIWA Aquatics and the Department of Health worked very hard to put together a commonsense approach to dealing with faecal incidents while integrating health risk treatments.  Llew explained the various methods of dealing with contamination that are detailed in the policy.  He also look at the life of the Cryptospordium Oocyst and just how difficult it is to destroy in the aquatic environment.  A full copy of this presentation and the policy are on the LIWA Aquatics website.  www.liwaaquatics.net.au
 
 
Dale Morrissy LIWA Aquatics Treasurer and the Manager of Beatty Park Leisure Centre then took the delegates on a virtual tour of the remarkable $17 million upgrade of the facility.  Everyone present was impressed with the scale of the project and the changes the upgrade will make to the iconic Beatty Park.  The installation of a geothermal bore, the new 10 lane pool, teaching pool, fitness and aerobics studios as well a complete revamping of the entry will ensure Beatty Park remains relevant for another 50 years.
 
The final presentation of the day that was delivered by Teagan Wilkie the Community Engagement Manager for the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series.  Teagan was able to update the delegates on exactly what was proposed for the North West and the time fames of activities that would accompany the Super Series.  These included activations and events throughout the North West over the next three years that would see coaching clinics, elite swimmers in the region and travel opportunities for kids to participate in events in Perth.  It is a great opportunity for the regions and one LIWA Aquatics is very pleased to be involved in.
 
 
 
The Final Wrap Up
 
Everyone was a prize winner this year as the 43rd Annual Conference was a resounding success for all involved in attending including delegates and Trade Exhibitors (all who have confirmed for next years event already).  Jeff, Chris and Karin then started the monster prize draw with some great prizes provided by LIWA Aquatics and the Trade Exhibitors.
 
The LIWA Aquatics Ipad was won by James Annetts and there were 30 more prizes donated by the various Trade Exhibitors.  We thank them greatly for their ongoing support of LIWA Aquatics and the Annual Conference; it would not be the best attended aquatic conference in Australia without their involvement.
 
President Jeff Fondacaro then thanked all the committee for their hard work and the delegates and members of LIWA Aquatics for their great work in the community.  It was time to adjourn to the front bar for a Plenary Session provided by John Shenton to unwind and relax after a very successful 43rd Annual LIWA Aquatics Conference and Trade Display.  See you next year!
 
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