In March 2020, the Kelowna Visitor Centre received accessibility certification from the Rick Hansen Foundation, which is an organization that audits and rates businesses on the accessibility of their buildings and sites.
After the centre was completed in June 2018, we realized there were some accessibility issues that needed to be fixed. Several changes were made between then and now to ensure everyone could access and take advantage of this valued community hub:
- Installed double automatic doors.
- Installed two height-adjustable desks.
- Moved retail displays to ensure ample space for movement within the centre.
- Installed an automatic door opener for the accessible washroom.
- Added iPads and a voice-activated assistant within the building.
- Installed a visual and audible alarm system.
- Provided accessibility training for all Visitor Experience Specialists and many Visitor Experience Volunteers
With the completion of the audit in February 2020, the Kelowna Visitor Centre received a final rating score of 70%, with key areas of success and actionable feedback. Here are some areas of success that were identified:
- Very accessible—transit stops nearby.
- Exterior pathways are level, clear, stable, and obstruction-free.
- Main entrance is very accessible with power-operated doors.
- Accessible door hardware.
- Overall, the interior space is very well illuminated.
- Adjustable height desk.
- Accessible washroom has a power-operated door and locking mechanisms.
- Good emergency systems (alarm, signage, etc.).
Using feedback from the Rick Hansen Foundation and local accessibility advocates, Tourism Kelowna will be aiming to improve our score during the next assessment period.
If you would like more information on the Kelowna Visitor Centre’s accessibility features or how to get your own business audited by the Rick Hansen Foundation, please contact me by email at sydney@tourismkelowna.