New Pool Pod Improves Accessibility At Peterborough Sport & Wellness Centre

A new portable Pool Pod that can assist people with mobility impairments to get in and out of a pool has been installed at the Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre thanks to a $50,000 grant from Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, a national charity dedicated to helping kids overcome financial and accessibility barriers to sport and recreation in an effort to provide inclusive play for kids
of all abilities.

The City of Peterborough was selected as one of nine inaugural Jumpstart Accessibility Grant recipients for the Pool Pod project, improving the accessibility of the community facility. A ribbon cutting for the new pool pod took place Thursday (February 7th) with Mayor Therrien.

Ribbon cutting ceremony on February 7th (photo courtesy City of Peterborough)

Ribbon cutting ceremony on February 7th (photo courtesy City of Peterborough)

The new lift equipment improves the ability of people with mobility impairments to independently use the leisure pool, where previously they may have required assistance from a lifeguard.

The Pool Pod provides safe, efficient access to the pool, allowing more people to enter and exit the pool in a short period of time. This will enhance the Centre’s ability to develop specific recreational and therapeutic pool programming for people with physical disabilities.

New pool pod in use (photo courtesy City of peterborough)

New pool pod in use (photo courtesy City of peterborough)

The City of Peterborough tweeted out video of the new pool pod in use…

With the installation of the Pool Pod, Chelsey Gray, Aquatics Coordinator says that “work has begun to develop and deliver specialized aquatics programming supporting recreational and therapeutic participants. Our new programming will support children, families and agencies such as Five Counties Children’s Centre with recreational and therapeutic adapted swim lessons.”

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How A Peterborough Woman With A Prosthetic Got Her Fitting Paddle

Peterborough’s Rachel Quilty was born with a partial left arm and has lived with a prosthetic for most of her life. The 19-year-old, who is affiliated with War Amps, had always wanted to become a camp counsellor at Camp Oconto—an all-girls camp where she had spent many years as a camper.

With her prosthetic, she wasn’t able to complete level D instruction with a traditional paddle which she’d need to teach canoeing as a counsellor. After seeking advice from fellow camp counsellors and getting the word out, The Canoe Museum writes in a blog post how volunteers, retail business and organizations came together to make a paddle that worked for her.

Photo of Rachel with her fitted paddle courtesy Canoe Museum

Photo of Rachel with her fitted paddle courtesy Canoe Museum

THE ORIGINAL PROTOTYPES

Wild Rock Outfitters donated a used paddle for the first prototype, in which a hole was added to accommodate the hook at the end of her prosthetic arm,” the Canoe Museum writes. More than 10 design prototypes were made over the next year to fit with Rachel’s prosthetic.

When Five Counties Children’s Centre asked Wild Rock if there was anyone they could recommend as this project evolved to find her the perfect fitting paddle, they suggested the Canadian Canoe Museum and that’s where volunteer Rick Schuett became involved.

Rachel and Rick at Canoe Museum

Rachel and Rick at Canoe Museum

Rick, who has been creating custom canoe paddles for three decades, carves paddles on the second floor in the artisan exhibit area on Fridays. Rick’s first paddle for Rachel worked well, with its middle connector on the shaft for movement, but over time the constant pressure eventually broke it apart and the metal hook from her prosthetic wore down the wood on the paddle’s grip.

For the second paddle, the Canoe Museum says that “Rick re-designed the middle connector pieces with stronger materials that enabled the lower portion of the paddle to be mobile for more ease and control. In addition, he added a piece of metal to the paddle’s grip to prevent wear and tear from the hook.”

Photo courtesy Canoe Museum

Photo courtesy Canoe Museum

HOW RACHEL USES THE PADDLE

-> Rachel puts the hook from her prosthetic arm through the hole in the grip and uses her right arm to move the bottom of the paddle.

-> The notch in the middle acts as the wrist she doesn’t have on her left hand and then she’s able to maneuver the paddle to perform various strokes.

With Rick’s expertise and dedication, he has given Rachel the means to accomplish her goals. The Canoe Museum says that in addition to becoming a camp counsellor, Rachel is working as a certified lifeguard and swim instructor at the Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre where she also uses the specialized paddle to teach swimming.

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Accessible Wheelchair Swing Is Now Open At Zoo After Modifications

After some modifications, the Riverview Park & Zoo has announced on their Facebook page that that their accessible wheelchair swing is now open to the public.

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"We have completely removed the wood fiber ground covering and replaced it with interlocking soft tile for easier access to the swings with wheelchairs," the zoo says in a Facebook post.

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If you want to use the accessible wheelchair swing, the zoo says to visit guest services (open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week) for help and instructions.

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An Accessibility Mat Has Been Installed At Beavermead Beach

The City of Peterborough, along with the Accessibility Advisory Committee, have announced the installation of a beach access mat at Beavermead Beach (2011 Ashburnham Drive).

The access mat is designed to enhance accessibility at the beach. The mat provides a walkway across the sand, allowing for easier access to the water for everyone—including people who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids, as well as parents with strollers.

Beach Access Mat Photo.jpg

A ribbon cutting will take place on Friday (August 25th) at 3 p.m. at Beavermead Beach. The public are invited out to the ribbon cutting to celebrate the community's continued commitment to accessibility.

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