Kapiti Coast Aquatic Centre models first class accessibility

30th March 2017

Coastlands Shopping Town Chief Executive Richard Mansell, Sandie Waddell from Be. Accessible and Kapiti Coast District Mayor K.Gurunathan. What would a truly accessible world look and feel like? You can find out for yourself when you visit the Coastland’s Aquatic Centre on the Kapiti Coast, who have this month reached an amazing milestone. A huge congratulations to Centre who have this month been awarded a Platinum accessibility rating- this is the highest Be. Welcome rating possible, reserved for those who model first class accessibility. This makes Coastland’s Aquatic Centre only the third business in New Zealand to receive this honour, and the first in the Wellington Region. It’s a New Zealand-first for a recreational facility to achieve this award, and when you visit you can see why.
You can find information about the Centre's outstanding accessible facilities on their website, and these are impressive indeed. But accessibility doesn’t stop with the built environment. The centre has an all-inclusive accessibility policy and when you visit you’ll notice that the staff at the centre are welcoming and well prepared to assist all access customers with diverse needs. You can be confident that your support dog is welcome, and if needed there are NZSL trained staff on site. You’ll find tactile indicators are installed on the accessible route to guide you through the facility and hearing loops in the meeting room. You’ll find all gender accessible toilets and both visual and audible fire alerting devices in the unlikely event of an emergency. With such a wide range of accessibility features and programmes to suit all ages and abilities it is no surprise that this highly dedicated centre have been awarded a platinum rating for accessibility.
The centre originally worked with Halberg Disability Sport Foundation to ensure their facilities cater for a wide range of accessibility needs.
We asked our Be. Welcome Coach Sandie Waddell, who conducted the assessment and is herself a wheelchair user- with such a wide range of accessibility features, what was the big stand out for her. She told us:
"What is perhaps the most significant point of difference for me was that every pool is either ramped or accessed by a hoist. In fact, the main pool has both a ramp and a hoist. The spa pool also has a hoist which is pretty unique! The staff were responsive to the whole range of access needs and the fact that the centre is used by people across both the age and ability spectrum on a regular basis is testament to the amazing facilities that are provided to ensure everyone is catered for and feels welcome."

We asked Centre Manager Kerry Granshaw about how they have built such a special culture, and she told us told us

"With the advantage of an outstandingly-designed, accessible facility, what really takes Coastlands Aquatic Centre to Platinum level is the complete dedication of its staff. Inclusion, for them, is a fundamental attitude, not just a policy".

Photo credit: Kapiti News