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Te Ara Atea and town centre to promote accessibility and inclusion

Wednesday, February 24, 2021   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: accessibility, built environment, Community, disabilities

Selwyn District Council media release: 23rd February 2021

The new Rolleston Town Centre and Te Ara Ātea - Selwyn's new library and community facility in Rolleston - will be a space that promotes community, lifelong learning and meeting new people through a focus on inclusive spaces and accessibility.

The name Te Ara Ātea was gifted to the Council by Te Taumutu Rünanga, meaning the ‘unobstructed trail to the world and beyond’.

The concept of unobstructed movement has been a key part of the design approach to the building – with an emphasis on accessibility within its distinct spaces.

The surrounding area outside the building and on the edge of the Rolleston town centre will contain a sensory space and garden which engages all the senses – sight, touch, sound, smell and taste.

It will feature pergolas, raised gardens for easy access, sound and colour features and edible plants.

Council Landscape Architect Dylan Robinson says that it’s about providing an enduring space that the whole community can enjoy, including those with diverse needs.

“The sensory space and garden will be a special place for connecting and meeting new people. There are a lot of possibilities there for our community.”

Inside the building, the Council has partnered with Waitaha School in Rolleston to design suitable bathroom facilities for people with disabilities.

The bathrooms at Te Ara Ātea will contain specialised equipment such as ceiling hoists and adult-sized change tables and provide space for those who require carers to assist them.

Council Property Project Manager Joanne Nikolaou says that the partnership is one component of a wider approach to accessibility and inclusion at Te Ara Ātea.

“This work is really important to establish Te Ara Ātea as a place which promotes diversity and equal access,” says Joanne.

In addition to traditional library services, Te Ara Ātea will house the bookable community spaces, a studio and workshop space, art exhibition areas and displays of historical items from across the district including taonga from Te Taumutu Rünanga.

The 2,200 square metre Tennyson Street building will open later this year.