In a remarkable about-face, the Kapiti Coast District Council has decided it will try to put a ramp for the disabled and aged in its new swimming pool.
Previously, the KCDC maintained a line saying it couldn’t put a ramp in the main pool because of the moveable floor at the new Aquatic Centre.
But this line,adopted late last year after years of promising a ramp to disabled groups, has drawn a huge wave of protest — and the prospect of protests during the upcoming opening of the pool.
Now the Council says: “An initial design for a removable ramp for the Coastlands Aquatic Centre’s main pool is under way.
“This follows approval in principle this week by the Dutch company supplying the moveable floor, VarioPool, for Council to get a ramp designed locally.
However, the KCDC says, the ramp’s design must be approved by VarioPool before it will guarantee it would not void aspects of the warranty.
The Council says it hopes to get an initial concept for a removable ramp within a couple of weeks.
The Community Services manager, Tamsin Evans, says: “A lot of focus is being put on resolving concerns about the access to the main pool.
Previous advice for KCDC
“Previous advice to Council has been that a removable ramp is not possible with the moveable floor.
“In response to further pressure from Council, VarioPool has reconfirmed it considers a removable ramp is technically and operationally unworkable. However, they agreed to review a local design that could be manufactured in New Zealand,” says Ms Evans.
Meanwhile, the Council says, it is pursuing custom-designed stairs for the main pool, which should be in place when the centre opens. This is in addition to standard pool ladders, user operated and staff assisted hoists.
It also says design of the stairs and a removable ramp will be undertaken in consultation with the Disability Reference Group as well other interested parties.
“We’re encouraged that we can explore designing a removable ramp but are aware it may still prove not workable,” says Ms Evans.
“We’re confident that the options we are providing mean the Coastlands Aquatic Centre will be a facility everyone can enjoy.”