Tufuiopa’s pool plight a matter of urgency

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

It’s about time. Unless the government moves to do something to protect users of the Tufuiopa village pool, someone is going to get killed. There is absolutely no doubt about it. 

By the grace of God and sheer luck, no one has died yet during the recent incidents where vehicles have ended up in the pool. 

But it will not always stay that way. That much we know.

And unless a solid fence is erected as soon as possible – or a drastic plan to redesign the road is found - one of these days an innocent member of the public will be seriously hurt, or worst, killed. 

Nobody would want that. 

Which is why it is important that the matter is being raised now for the relevant authorities to pay attention and act with great urgency. Urgent is the operative word here folks. There cannot be a delay. 

Earlier this week, a resident of the area, Tu’ifao Sauala, raised the alarm following three car crashes where pick-up trucks have ended up in the pool, after skidding off the main road, which is literally centimeters away.

“As of last week, three vehicles have found themselves in the Tufuiopa pool and luckily no one was swimming when the accidents occur,” Tu’ifao said.

“Otherwise it would have been a disaster. Are we going to wait for a tragic incident to happen in order to act accordingly?” 

It wasn’t always that risky for residents of the area, according to Tu’ifao. But then the road wasn’t always in flash condition either. Before when the road condition was poor, motorists couldn’t speed.

But the government recently fixed the road so that now there is nothing stopping vehicles from speeding through back and forth. It gets considerably worse during heavy downpours when the new tar becomes very slippery.

Since Christmas, three vehicles have veered off the road and crashed into the pool. On all occasions, no one was hurt. It was a sheer miracle that no one was swimming in the pool, considering how popular the spot is as a recreational space and one where mothers from the village take their washing.

The alarm bells should be ringing.

“I blame the L.T.A. and the Police for not enforcing the speed limit in the town area and the condition of the road now,” said Tu’ifao.

“You see what is going on, there are speed limit signs everywhere, but it is not being enforced that is why the drivers continue to drive like maniacs.”

According to Tu’ifao who lives right next to the pool, he said sometimes there are about 25-30 children swimming there.

“Imagine if a car slides into the pool, it would be a disaster,” he said. 

“And that is why the government should make this a priority in order to ensure the safety of our children. The road is slippery and as a parent, I am very concerned for the safety of our children.”

Well we couldn’t agree more. Any decent parent would be concerned too.

In the long term, the government will have to consider redesigning the road to accommodate the pool. They could either move it or install road humps there in a bid to slow down the traffic.

We understand Tu’ifao’s frustrations about the speeding motorists. But if the relevant authorities are struggling to control speeding drivers in most parts of Samoa, what makes you think they will be able to do it at Tufuiopa?  

It would be excellent if they could. 

But don’t hold your breath. 

It is also why it is fantastic to hear that the community in the area has taken the initiative to come up with ways to protect themselves.

 “So now we have stopped our children from going to take a dip in the water,” said Tu’ifao. “This to me is unfair because it literally deprives our children from enjoying what they grew up doing and that is swimming in the pool.”

As for members of the public and motorists using the area, Tu’ifao has a special message for them. 

“Please be considerate when you drive around this area, we have our children walking to the stores. And also when it rains please do not speed in case your car slips into the pool again.”

Well there you have it folks, if you are passing through in the area – and many of us do – keep Tu’ifao’s words in mind. And watch out for the little ones there.

Have a safe Friday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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