Facilities, Sport & recreation  |  17 Aug 2020

The under-construction Metro Sports Facility (MSF) will include a New Zealand-first aquatic sensory experience area specially designed for disabled people.

Christchurch City Council is inviting people to provide feedback on the high-tech multi-sensory environment that’s designed to benefit people of all ages and abilities, particularly those with disability.

Craig Scott, Chair of the Southern Centre Trust,says these spaces are known to provide significant benefits to disabled people.

The Southern Centre Trust partners with the Council at the Council-operated Southern Centre, a land-based multi-sensory space at the Pioneer Recreation and Sport Centre.

Designs for the aquatic sensory experience at the MSF include a heated pool with beach entry and eight different user-activated water features, a bubble column, an interactive projector screen, a tactile wall and a ‘how things work’ wall where the user can control the flow of water through pipes.

“This new water-based facility is designed to encourage fun, relaxation, intellectual activity, language and social skills in a fun and explorative way,” Mr Scott says.

“Sensory stimulation can be matched to meet the needs of the individual, allowing the participant to have control of their environment, which is a key priority. This upholds a rights-based framework that values the lives of disabled people by encouraging full participation.”

The Council want to hear how people would like to use the space and the activities that people would like included. People can have their say on how the aquatic sensory experience could be used by completing a survey by Monday 12 October.

When it opens, the MSF will be the largest aquatic and indoor recreation leisure venue in New Zealand.

Construction of the Metro Sports Facility is under way and managed by Ōtākaro Limited.

The facility is jointly funded by the Government and Christchurch City Council, with the Council taking over operations after completion.