An example of an automated washroom feature being added to several washrooms in Surrey thanks to grants from the Rick Hansen Foundation. (Submitted photo)

Rick Hansen Foundation gives Surrey $105K to make washrooms more accessible

The grants will be used for accessibility upgrades at eight civic sites across the city

Rick Hansen Foundation is giving Surrey $105,000 to make washrooms more accessible at various facilities throughout the city.

Through eight grants, the funding will be used to create automatic access to bathrooms at civic sites, among other accessibility upgrades.

One of the largest barriers for people in any facility is washroom access, said Tara Roberts, Manager of Support Services and Accessibility for Surrey.

“Automatic doors is something that, no matter your age, it can create a huge barrier,” she added. “We want to create a more inclusive city where people can live, work and play. And we want people to participate independently with limited supports. That’s why it’s so important for us in the last 10 years to really look at universal designs.”

READ ALSO: Museum of Surrey, Surrey Fire Service announce sensory-friendly initiatives

Roberts noted when some of the city’s older civic sites were built, automatic doors were not required under the BC Building Code.

That’s why the city is thrilled with the foundation’s grant dollars that will pay for the upgrades throughout the city.

“When we talk about universal design, we aren’t just talking about those with disabilities, it also applies to our aging population, moms with strollers. Doors can be very heavy and that proves as a huge barrier,” she said.

The city is going to “move quickly” to get the installations complete, Roberts said, with work set to begin in November and wrap up next May.

The following upgrades will be made to facilities:

  • Fleetwood Community Centre– automated access to washrooms – $12,452.47
  • Guildford Recreation Centre – automated access to washrooms and features – $15,461.60
  • Strawberry Hill Hall – automated access to washrooms – $13,413.40
  • Don Christian Recreation Centre – automated access to washrooms – $10,903.20
  • South Surrey Indoor Pool – automated washroom access, emergency call ball and signage – $10,2847.76
  • Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex – universal washroom access – $11, 278.96
  • Unwin Pool – change room upgrade and universal shower – $20,000
  • Newton Recreation Centre – emergency call bell, lift for hot tub – $11, 278.96

All of the facilities have received varying levels of certification from the Rick Hansen Foundation, which is a prerequisite for applying for grants to upgrade accessibility features.

The Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) is a rating system that uses trained professionals to “evaluate the meaningful access of commercial, institutional, and multi-unit residential buildings and sites.” The foundation notes that in Canada, almost half of adults have or have experienced a physical disability, or live with someone who has.

Once rated, a site may be certified at one of two levels, “RHF Accessibility Certified” or “RHF Accessibility Certified Gold.”

READ ALSO: Rick Hansen awards gold certification to South Surrey aquatic centre

The City of Surrey says it is the highest participating city with the RHFAC program and has the most Accessibility Certified facilities of any city across Canada. Surrey has received four Accessibility Certified Gold ratings, at the Surrey Arts Centre, the Cloverdale and Chuck rec centres, as well as the Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre.

Surrey has made other efforts to make civic sites more accessible in recent months, including the introduction of a sensory-friendly space at the Museum of Surrey, in partnership with the Canucks Autism Network from 10 a.m. to noon on the first Sunday of each month.

As well, in May the city announced a permanent space at Grandview Aquatic Centre that is designed for individuals with autism and features low-lighting and low-sound. It’s described as British Columbia’s first aquatics sensory friendly space.

“Sensory friendly spaces are designated areas that have reduced input from the sensory environment,” notes the city’s website. “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 on Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification, visit rickhansen.com/RHFAC.

Visit surrey.ca/accessibility for more details on the City of Surrey’s accessibility efforts.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

OUR VIEW: Way too many Surrey COVID-19 cases

We all need to take this threat seriously

Horgan says Surrey mayor opened ‘hornets’ nest’ with Surrey policing transition

Surrey election battle heating up over Doug McCallum’s controversial cop transition

Semiahmoo Bottle Depot part of hybrid-electic compaction truck pilot program

Return-It launches program at 16 B.C. bottle depots with aim to reduce emissions

Horgan lambastes Liberal health record in Surrey

BCNDP leader attacks Andrew Wilkinson’s role in selling a potential hospital site here at a discount

OPINION: It’s Time for Surrey to be Heard

Which party will listen to Surrey voters?

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Return-It depots change beverage container deposits from 20 to 10 cents

Change will be implemented on Oct. 1, with a transition period being held until Oct. 11

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Young man assaulted, left for 12 hours until help called in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park

Vancouver police are looking to identify the victim as they investigate an assault on Monday evening

Boulders near Harrison vandalized with derogatory word

Vandalism likely occured between Sunday evening and Tuesday evening

Most Read