It was with great excitement that I attended the opening ceremony for the new Penticton Recreation Centre, only to be very disappointed.
I was afraid this was coming from the day it closed, but I had hoped that maybe I would be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. I feared for the accessibility of the new building, and I was right to be concerned.
The size of the new facility in itself creates an overwhelming experience for a person who not only lives in small city Penticton, but who lives day to day in a wheelchair or on crutches. Sadly, the small gym that once was, is no longer accessible to me, as it is now upstairs, farthest away from the entrance, in a facility where the elevator was not upgraded. At the opening ceremony people were actually complaining that the elevator wasn’t working. It was working, it’s just slow because it’s ancient. The fitness room is too spread out to navigate, with nowhere to store my mobility aids while I work out. The old room still exists, they’re just not sure what they’re using it for yet. The pool is now way too overwhelming an experience (it’s huge). Because of this I will no longer participate in an activity I once loved, coaching local disabled athletes in the pool.
Don’t even get me started on the structural accessibility of the building, Yikes! First of all, have you ever seen a wheelchair ramp, that ends in stairs? It has been a goal of mine to witness such a thing in my life, and that goal has now been accomplished. That’s right, the wheelchair ramp, directly into the pool, ends in stairs.
The lazy river we now have, and the new slide built onto the pool, are structures made of concrete. Who builds structures that children play on out of concrete? That’s one play area I would never supervise.
As a former City of Penticton Community Centre volunteer, I am very disappointed in this $23 million joke. Did I mention that Penticton doesn’t even have the population for an “H20 Kelowna”?
That’s why we didn’t have one. Sadly, I’m not the only one that isn’t impressed. I spent most of my time at the rec centre, now I’m stuck finding something better to do.