SURREY Mayor Doug McCallum and Rick Hansen were joined by members of the community on Tuesday at the Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre to announce its certification as one of the first aquatics facilities in Canada to receive RHF Accessibility Certified Gold from the Rick Hansen Foundation.
“We are committed to continually improving access across our city, where people of all abilities can fully participate in city life,” said McCallum. “Through collaboration with partners like the Rick Hansen Foundation, our vision is to continually advance our universal access initiatives and become the most accessible city in Canada. Today, we are very proud to celebrate this prestigious certification, which proves we are on the right track.”
Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) rates sites on several criteria which look at the various needs of individuals with disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing. Surrey is one of the first municipalities in Canada to receive an RHF Accessibility Certified Gold rating and now has 41 rated civic facilities, including 29 that have been RHF Accessibility Certified, and four that have achieved RHF Accessibility Certified Gold.
“It is wonderful to see the City of Surrey, one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, embrace accessibility in their public spaces,” said Rick Hansen, Founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation. “Surrey is the largest municipal supporter of the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program and I applaud them for their leadership. I look forward to seeing other cities across the country follow their lead.”
Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre has a wide range of accessibility features that led to achieving RHF Accessibility Certified Gold, including:
- ramped access to pools and hot tubs
- a portable lift to access the main pool
- an adult-sized change bench with ceiling lift
- inclusive and adapted fitness equipment and accessories
- universally accessible showers, change rooms, steam rooms and saunas
- adapted personal training, aquafit, paddle boarding and one-on-one swimming lessons
- accessible parking, including access isles
- clearly marked signage and wayfinding, including braille and tactile features
- curb cuts
In celebration of achieving RHF Accessibility Certified Gold, the City also announced the opening of British Columbia’s first aquatics sensory friendly space. Sensory friendly spaces are designated areas that have reduced input from the sensory environment. This includes decreased levels of lighting, sound and smell. Particularly helpful for individuals with autism, or anyone who is overwhelmed in busy public spaces, this space offers a wide range of elements to support relaxation, including comfortable seating, sensory toys, books, games and noise-cancelling headphones.
For more information, visit: surrey.ca/accessibility
For more information on Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification, visit rickhansen.com/RHFAC