KCDC says Independent got it wrong with disability story
Tamsin Evans, KCDC Community Services Group Manager, says the Kapiti Independent got it wrong in a recent article about disability training within the Council (story at bottom of page).
Ms Evans says: ” Council began offering disability awareness and responsiveness training to ALL staff last year.
“The training itself and the commitment to train all staff is an outcome of advocacy from the Kapiti Accessibility Advisory Group (KAAG) , formerly the Disability Reference Group (DRG) and is provided in conjunction with the Kapiti Disability Information and Equipment Centre through the ‘Making the Difference’ Fund.
“It is NOT, as your article suggests, a knee jerk response to the aquatic centre ramp issue.
“On the subject of the ramp. Some facts:
- As a community recreational and sporting facility the Coastlands Aquatic Centre has to meet the needs of everyone, from babies to 90-year-olds, and to cater for abilities ranging from learners and disabled users to competitive swimmers and water sports enthusiasts
- So the pool could meet these diverse needs and to make it truly multifunctional a moveable floor was chosen
- While a ramp was originally planned for the main pool, experts told Council it could not be used at our facility with a moveable floor and that putting in a ramp could void our warranty
- Council believed disability access would adequately be provided for with the provision of an in-built ramp in the Programmes Pool, low rise stairs with handrails (as used by disabled users at Otaki & Waikanae pools) and two hoists, one self-operated
Ms Evans goes on to say: “In response to concerns raised by disability advocates we have provided a solution – a locally designed ramp that has been approved by the pool manufacturer
“In hindsight Council acknowledges it should have informed the disability community of expert advice that a ramp was incompatible with the moveable floor. It could also have consulted with them about other alternatives.
Council Chief Executive Pat Dougherty has apologised for the ‘hurt and frustration’ Council’s actions clearly caused”
Council believes issue resolved
Ms Evans also says the Council believes this issue has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.
She states:Instead of re-litigating the issue and running inaccurate and negative commentary, we hope Kapiti Independent News will join the community in celebrating the imminent opening of the Coastlands Aquatic Centre, a much needed and awaited facility for our community.”