It was with a deep sense of surprise and happiness that the citizens of Calgary saw the arrival of aquatic wheelchairs at the splash parks in the city. This is part of a project that is attempting to make not just transport, roads, and water parks more accessible.
How Do These Chairs Work?
Having made their debut in three splash parks across the city, these aquatic wheelchairs help wick the moisture away thereby allowing users to dry off easily. At the same time, those who grab the chairs to use next, will not have to sit on wet seats.
These chairs are built to suit just about everyone, with head rests and straps that can be adjusted to hold the person firmly in place. Fitted with good brakes, these aquatic wheelchairs that will soon grace splash parks all over Calgary can be customised to suit one’s needs.
Helping Those With Mobility Issues
Patricia Wheatley is a mother of three children, all of whom suffer from some mobility problem. For her, this initiative sounds really great, though the positioning needs of her son may not allow him to benefit from this program. However, a large number of children who had no hope of playing in a water park will now have the opportunity to do so.
According to Patricia, any city that takes the first step to bring down barriers and create an inclusive environment for all is moving in the right direction. This initiative was pushed forward by the Children’s Charity of Alberta, who strongly advocated to have these chairs. This is an organization that helps support children who suffer from disabilities.
According to the managing director and communications director of Variety Alberta, Jana Hands, having these chairs allows all kinds of individuals to come out and enjoy the water, get wet and be a part of an environment that they always missed out on earlier.
Making the Way to an Inclusive Future
Right now, these chairs have been put in the Variety Spray Park, located at 90 Ave. and 24 St. S. W., the Rotary Park and Canmore Park which is situated at 2020 Chicoutimi Dr. N.W. This initiative was supposed to take flight in the month of August but delays at the border caused it to stall. It is most likely that the pilot will now be kept for the rest of the year and used to collect data and will then be carried into the next year.
The managing director and project director for Variety, Larry Horeczy, said that the experience that the organization had in building the park in South Glenmore was important in shaping this entire project. He feels that building something that is fully inclusive does not disadvantage you in any way as everyone is going to enjoy it and all the children will want to come there.
For him, the introduction of these aquatic wheelchairs in Calgary splash parks is just another attempt to discard with barriers and allow everyone to enjoy life. After all, these wheelchairs are part and parcel of our human fundamental rights, which demands that all should have the opportunity to be active, social and to belong.