Huia wins gold for disabled access

Tuesday 14 August 2012, 2:23PM

By Hutt City Council



Huia Pool’s recent gold award from the Halberg Trust for disabled access comes as no surprise for one user of the council facility.

Allison Thwaite travels from Upper Hutt most days to do aqua jogging sessions after rupturing a knee ligament in a tramping accident in May.

The health and safety consultant says she frequently advises clients to help speed up their recovery by doing water-based exercises – and now she finds herself having to follow her own advice. She is working to get movement into her knee before surgery in several months’ time.

Allison says there are a number of pools closer to home, but Huia’s ease of access for the disabled, including in the changing rooms, makes the extra drive well worthwhile.

The Halberg Trust’s SportAccess award requires meeting a number of benchmarks, among them completing a self-assessment of facilities, implementing an action plan (which includes training of staff) and installing means of access so disabled swimmers are not in any way disadvantaged.

Huia Pool manager Tina McFarlane says staff have worked hard in the past few years to reach gold award standard, and are immensely proud of the recognition.

Huia is one of only seven pools nationally to receive the SportAccess gold award.

The special main pool steps descend at a very gentle angle, and there are handrails either side to steady the descent. Wheels allow the steps to move as the adjustable pool floor is raised or lowered. In the changing rooms there are handrails at various key points, and there is a separate changing area in both the men’s and women’s containing both a shower and toilet for those in wheelchairs.