For six years, federal regulators worked on a regulation that would make swimming pools accessible to those with disabilities. They passed a regulation in April, which could ultimately cost commercial pool owners thousands of dollars.
The Americans with Disabilities Act swimming pool guidelines became the law of the law of the land in April 2011, but many commercial pool owners are still unaware of the law, which requires all commercial pools to be handicapped accessible. Those pool owners will now have to install wheelchair lifts or sloped entries at their own expense.
“As for as I’m concerned, anyone that’s handicapped, ought to have the ability to get in the water” said Ed Thomasson, Edgewater Beach Resort Resident.
Ed Thomasson is just one of many who will be directly impacted by the addition of chairlifts. An estimated 3,000 commercial pools in our local area, are not handicap accessible. Edgewater Beach Resort is one of the few along Panama City Beach that is in compliance with the ADA regulation.
“We’ve had the chair for 15 years, we knew the importance about being accessible to the pool water while they’re here to enjoy their stay” said Michelle Lacewell, Edgewater Beach Resort Marketing Director.
Edgewater’s early compliance makes people like Thomasson pleased to know they are being thought of.
“You have handicap people all the time. If they know they can get in the water, they do. It’s amazing how many people use that chair, it’s a wonderful thing” said Ed Thomasson.
The law only applies to commercial pools, ‘not’ residential pools. The lifts cost on average about $7,000 dollars.