Tag Archives: wheelchairs

Pool Accessibility – Inaccessible is Unacceptable

6 Jul

I admit it, I was not nice this weekend. I was a bit defensive and caustic. But I’m sick of fighting with surly unprofessional lifeguards! I live near a City of Alexandria pool, and visit regularly. It’s close by, the water is clean, and its family friendly. Great, right? Nope. Not only is it not stroller accessible, it’s not handicap accessible. And that is UNACCEPTABLE. In order to get my daughter to the pool, I have to carry her stroller down a flight of steps (with her in it that’s over 45 lbs) or take her out, find a lifeguard to help me carry it down, then figure out how to carry both her and stroller down a flight of steps. The other option is to yell through the fence to a lifeguard, ask them to open the gate and wait and wait and wait for said lifeguard to leave his or her post, find a person with a key and then open the gate. And let me tell you, there is MAJOR attitude when I do this. So I usually strap her in, and try not to dump her over while I haul the stroller down the steps.

So after a few times of doing this, I ask the lifeguards why the gate isn’t open. Their response: people might come in that way and not pay to use the pool. Here’s a novel idea: STAFF A TABLE!! There’s no reason that these lifeguards can’t staff a table to take money from patrons needing to use a gated entrance and not the steps. Not only can I not get to the pool without monkeying with my stroller, there is NO way a handicapped person could get to the pool. The City of Alexandria discriminates (knowingly or unknowingly) against families and handicapped people by allowing this to happen. This is against the law! The Americans With Disabilities Act prevents such discrimination.

Mind you, there are 9 lifeguards on duty at any given time. 3 watch the pool, and the other 6 sit at a table and gossip and complain about things. So because they are too lazy, and incompetent I have to struggle to get my daughter to the pool and a handicapped person would really have to make an effort. It’s not fair to discriminate against someone because your workers are lazy. The gate should be open so that people can enjoy the pool without calling attention to themselves.

Want to know the coup de grace moment? I was told that if I didn’t like it (meaning their lazy butts weren’t going to open the gate) that I could “GO TO ANOTHER POOL”. Who does that? Seriously!! I was so pissed about this, that it still makes my blood boil. Not only was this lifeguard completely rude and out of line (I was not that obtrusive to him) his BOSS was RIGHT THERE – and agreed with him. The quality of these employees hired by Alexandria City astonishes me.

I emailed the City of Alexandria’s Director of Aquatics, Ralph Baird earlier today and am very curious to know of his response.

%d bloggers like this: