The Kapiti group campaigning for a ramp at the new Aquatic Centre says the Kapiti Coast District Council’s latest news (story below) is nothing to get excited about because the council is also saying a ramp may still prove not workable.
The Bring Back the Ramp group says it’s a fact that both a moveable floor and a ramp have always been possible.
It says the Council is still trying to sell ‘accessible stairs’ (apparently having already purchased these) despite the elderly and disabled telling them since January that stairs are not accessible, nor acceptable.
Pool not suited to everyone
Spokesperson Erica Cooney says the council advertisements continue to say that the Centre is for people of ‘all abilities’ when it clearly isn’t.
“There are no grab rails despite most the pool being nearly eight feet deep with nothing decent to hold onto for support!” she says.
“The community needs to be aware that council’s record of spin speaks volumes.”
Ms Cooney says: “This is the same as we were told in January — that the Centre was ‘designed with disabled users in mind’ and that they had listened.
“But in fact Council had broken their promises, failed to provide basic accessibility requirements of a ramp and poolside grab-rails — instead relegating most disabled users to a small portion of the learners’ and children’s pool.”
Ramp ‘can possibly be made locally‘
Ms cooney adds: “The council said they searched internationally for a suitable ramp and now say it could possibly be made locally!
“The fact is Variopool make integrated ramps for moveable floors; H2O Innovations make moveable ramps for pools with moveable floors; and Myrtha pools can have poolside grab-rails.
“This Aquatic Centre can cater for virtually everyone in our community.
“If it opens without these basic requirements which everyone can use (disabled or not) then it will be proof that this council has not listened to, or met, people’s fundamental rights of equity in accessibility, despite years of so called ‘consultation’.
“Regardless of the past however, if council demonstrate — without reservation — genuine acknowledgement of and commitment to resolving these accessibility and usability issues, then of course we would be keen to work with them on finding the best solutions and achieving the best outcome.”