Some RSA clubs do not have enough room in their toilet facilities. Doorways and general access is okay for abled but for not for disabled people. People who need extra travel time, or an elevator to get to another level, often encounter more steps than ramps. For those who would like to enjoy a meal, seating can feel squashed in the dining area.
When performances or large group activities occur, the toilet facilities are inaccessible because it's too small, and there's no room for wheelchair access, or strollers, or walkers. When large groups attend, or there is a larger function, it is a waiting game to access the public conveniences. It is embarrassing when you need to go but overcrowding doesn't help. There can be an overwhelming crowds of patrons - over 200 people at a time - and the toilet areas and bar space becomes inadequate. Also there is no ventilation unless you go outside. They need more bathroom cubicles and a lift to ensure suitable access. There can be long queues when waiting to be served - and we are members!
This happens regularly. Once too many is too much. It can be stressful in such a helpless situation.
My husband is breathless. He cannot stand or wait for long periods of time to be served, yet we enjoy the RSA atmosphere and meals.
The Government needs to accept responsibility and provide financial aid to public services, to ensure access in aging buildings and include functions so less waiting is involved for patrons. Owners of establishments used for entertainment and retail should be accountable for wheelchair, mobility parking and elderly persons' access.
This is a story about the barriers many face. We're sharing it because we want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.