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Petition finally gets result

Trust House Recreation Centre staff say the new mobile lifting hoist will make accessing the indoor pools much easier. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Hoist will allow more disabled people to swim

Four years after a petition signed by more than 800 people called for a chair hoist at the public swimming pools in Masterton one has arrived.

More people with a wider range of disabilities will now be able to enjoy the pools at the Trust House Recreation Centre thanks to a new mobile lifting hoist, the council says.

The hoist, which cost $15,000 to purchase and get here, was funded by a donation from the PD Stevens Trust, gifted specifically for the purposes of funding accessibility improvements at the public pools.

It’s mobile and is for use at the indoor pools.

In September 2015 Masterton disability advocate Peter Knighton presented the petition seeking a chair hoist at the then Genesis Energy Recreation Centre, the Times-Age reported at the time.

He was told for the council to consider getting a chair hoist, he would have to collect 10 signatures from wheelchair-bound residents, which he managed along with hundreds more from supportive people.

Knighton said on Sunday that it was “awesome” there was going to be a chair lift at the pools.

“Yeah, I am pleased because I petitioned them a while ago, so it’s good to hear it’s been done.”

He said the petition was to the owners of the pools at the time who told him they didn’t see a need for a chair hoist.

Trust House Recreation Centre Manager Marilyn Sayers said while both the leisure and main pools already have ramp access, this does have limitations.

“The hoist will make it possible for a number of people with disabilities to now access the water and experience the many benefits of having a swim and water exercise,” Sayers said.

The hoist comes with the option of either a seat or a sling that can be lowered using a button hand-switch. Manufactured in the US, it has a lifting capacity of 136kg.

Masterton District Council Manager of Community Facilities and Activities Andrea Jackson, says the council is committed to ensuring everyone in the community has access to the public swimming pools.

“That makes the hoist a great investment,” Jackson said.

“Residents who might not necessarily be in mobility chairs, but have other physical problems such as hip, knee or ankle issues can have difficulty using the inbuilt ramp or ladders.

“The hoist will enable them to get in and out of the pools without this worry.”

Knighton said the chair hoist was “very important” and swimming was good therapy for people with disabilities.

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