Pool Row Continues

Aq Centre VIP event pool 3Disability group accuses KCDC of dishonesty over delayed ramp at Kapiti pool

By Alan Tristram

The REACT (Ramp Equal Action Coalition Team) says the KCDC’s 11th-hour decision to defer installing a ramp in the new swimming pool is yet another broken promise.

Erica Cooney, of REACT, says deferring the ramp until after the school holidays  is a breach of the agreements arrived at in mediation,  and shows a lack of insight for the elderly and those with disabilities.

‘The ramp can be installed and usable soon’

She says: “We strongly believe the ramp can be installed and usable as soon as absolutely possible and by mid- January 2014 at the latest.

“Although the ramp has virtually now been constructed and we have some new elected members, very little seems to have changed with KCDC’s mentality of the needs of elderly, those with a disability and of our community at large.

“Research has categorically shown that a ramp is beneficial for the majority of public pool users — it is the only recommendation made in NZS 4121– the only standard in the Building Act that is automatically compliant in terms of accessibility that is safe, easy, independent, dignified and universal.

Ms Cooney says KCDC have granted themselves building compliance — despite to date no disability organization or disability auditors approving pool accessibility without a ramp.

She says it appears from KCDC’s Media Release of 3 December 2013 (International Day of Persons with Disabilities), and from various information perceived by members and organisations of the public, that KCDC staff do not really want a ramp at all or even see it as necessary for reasonable access.

Arrogance alleged

“They also seem to arrogantly believe that they know best and they know exactly what ‘disability’ means and what the elderly and those with mobility impairment need to access the pool despite those organisations and experts telling them again and again  what they require for equitable access,” she says.

“Deferring the pool installation to February 2014, we believe is a breach of the agreements arrived at in the HRC (Human Rights Commission) mediation,  and it is yet another broken promise and lack of insight for the elderly and those with disability in Kapiti.

She also says the KCDC don’t appreciate the fact that now Raumati pool has closed there are no pools in the district with ramp access – and the people who do need ramp access to go swimming have been refused their rights for over four months.

Ms Cooney concludes: “This ramp was promised (with no conditions attached) ASAP after the main pool opened and it was to be in place virtually all of the time the pool was open to the public!”