In the last 12 months, we have worked on many public and privately operated swimming pools throughout Victoria, NSW and Queensland.
There is a recurring theme – the type and design of the amenities and the types of pool entrance accessibility. The amenities are relatively easy, with the following
- Changing places facility
- Unisex accessible (a minimum of two where a portable hoist can ensure a higher capacity when the changing places toilet is in great demand through group use) including change benches
- Unisex ambulant accessible toilets
- Family change rooms including change benches
- School gender facilities including ambulant accessible toilets
- First aid room
The provision of these ensures people from all abilities, backgrounds and recreational requirements can fully enjoy the pools before and after use.
Swimming is one of the few recreation / sporting activities that allows freedom from impairment or mobility level, regardless of age. Toddlers pools, program pools, splash parks, swimming pools, spa’s or beach entry wave pools. There is something for everyone in the community. The challenge is how to get people of all abilities and accessibility levels, into and out of them.
The range of equipment varies significantly in their cost to build, install, manage and maintain. The following highlight the key benefits and types:
Benefit – Independent operation, can be moved and offers a range of abilities access to the pool
Negatives – Expensive, not appropriate for people with high mobility needs or who use a large wheelchair
Aqua Creek Pro or King Fisher hoists
Benefit – Inexpensive, independent operation, battery power, movable, small space impact
Negatives – not appropriate for people with high mobility, care needs or who use a large wheelchair
Pelican pool hoist – sling style
Benefits – large lifting capacity, designed for people with high mobility or care needs
Negatives – not independently operable, intensive staff use, large footprint when not in use
Benefits – Non-mechanical issues, can be used by people with ambulatory disabilities
Negatives – Expensive, wet wheelchairs are generally poor and require staff assistance, not desirable for people with high mobility or care needs
Spa ledge (460mm high & 400mm wide)
Benefits – Non-mechanical issues, people with temperature regulation issues, ideal for elderly or mobile wheelchair uses to transfer onto the ledge and ease themselves into the space
Negatives – not desirable for people with high mobility or care needs, difficult for a kingfisher or Aqua Creek pro pool hoist to move over the top of
These are by no means an exhaustive list of what should be provided as each facility is different, however providing a number of these features, ensure that inclusivity, accessibility and community sustainability is achieved.