Swimming Pool: A Design to be Emulated and Celebrated

When the Sungod Recreation Centre in North Delta, B.C. was remodeled, they integrated a ramp into the beautiful and aptly named, Sunshine Pool.

The design of this ramp is brilliant. It allows people in wheelchairs and those who are mobility-challenged to enter and exit the pool without assistance. The ability to be independent, when so often a mobility disability requires asking for help—a lot—means a great deal to me.

In another facility I once visited, it was incumbent upon the swimmer to ask the lifeguard to wheel the stairs into the pool. This request was accompanied by an unspoken attitude of “You don’t look disabled, so why are you wasting my time and energy?” The Walking Disabled is a term I use to refer to people such as myself, who at first glance, don’t act or look disabled, unless you start paying attention and notice the gnarled fingers, the crooked toes, the mechanical movements or the adapted walk.)

As a former competitive swimmer, I also appreciate how the integration of the ramp doesn’t interfere with the placement of the lanes for competitive swimming.

Kudos to the Corporation of Delta for designing a facility that raises the bar (ramp?) for accessible facilities!

Related post: The Dirty Down Low.

How easy is it for you to enter and exit the pool at which you swim? Are you able to do so independently? Is that important to you?

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10 Responses to “Swimming Pool: A Design to be Emulated and Celebrated”

  1. so funny you are posting just as I am about to have my foot surgery which means no weight bearing for at least 8 weeks…I swim at a pool I love but have never noticed the dynamics of getting in and out let alone down to the level of the facility on which it is (lowest level) Everything involves steps but there is a handicapped elevator to get me down to it but…then to get into the pool they have steps and steps to get up to the hot tubs (both of them!) So I am likely going to pause my membership for the 8 weeks (which is not my preference by any means) but I just cannot see myself dealing with all of this while trying to balance on one foot! I am so happy that there is a facility out there that considers those issues and addresses them. Kudos to those folks!!! Nan

    • Hi Nan,

      Your instructions for your forefoot surgery are different from the ones I had. Will you be wearing one of those boots 24/7? Will the surgeon put pins in your toes?

      Those ladders are tough to negotiate. Once everything heals your reward will be the pool and prettier feet! 🙂

      I’ll be thinking of you during your surgery!

  2. Wow. Great post. I don’t have the problem so much now, but it used to be nearly impossible for me to climb out of the pool using the ladder. There was no other option at the time, and I couldn’t grasp the rails tight enough to support my weight, and then my knees and hips made it even worse. I would be thrilled if all pool facilities had the resources and the thoughtfulness to make it this easy. I think zero access is becoming more and more popular, so we’ll see.

    • That’s it exactly – grasping the rails tight enough to pull yourself up!

      I’m glad that you have a greater deal of ease getting in (and out) of the swim!

  3. We are so happy to hear that the ramp has made your experience at Sungod a great one. Hughes Condon Marler Architects believes that one of our responsibilities is to design buildings that accommodate the widest cross section of the community. We create architecture that reduces barriers to use—whether physical, cultural or social.

    Our experience designing over a dozen public aquatic centres across Canada in the last decade allows us to integrate our latest experience into our current projects.

    • After checking out your website, it looks as if you were responsible for the design of the renovations at Sungod. My hat goes off to you – the less involvement of staff, the better it is for everyone. It’s great to see all populations using the ramp at Sungod.

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