Pamela Cowan, Regina Leader-Post
Updated: July 27, 2018
It’s easier for Michelle Busch to navigate into Mosaic Stadium than Regina’s old football venue, but despite extensive consultations with six groups before the build, she says there are still accessibility gaps.
The 30-year-old chaired the accessibility advisory committee, one of the groups that met with the City of Regina and architect team in the planning stages of the new stadium.
As Busch walks into the stadium, the partially sighted Regina woman appreciates the bright yellow tactile strip that guides her purple and gold cane from the curb to the front door.
The nine, voice-equipped elevators located around the stadium also score points with Busch.
So does Braille signage on all rooms and the purple, orange, blue and green signs that are colour-coded to correspond with each level of the stadium.
A number of design elements are done well, she said.
“There’s a lot more accessible seating than the old stadium,” Busch said of the 23 accessible seating pods located on every level.
Now when she attends a game with friends or family members they can sit with her, not behind her or rows away.
Throughout the stadium, there are 157 accessible seats and 114 companion seats.
However, Bosch thinks planners dropped the ball in a couple of areas, including the lack of braille on seats.
“If you have any degree of vision loss, there’s no way to be able to find your seat independently,” she said. “There is guest services when you first walk in the door, but again you’re waiting for somebody, and if it’s game day there’s a million people, so you have to wait longer.”
Inside the cavernous stadium, Busch feels lost. She’d like an interactive or tactile map set up as a guide to the layout of the venue.
“A tactile map would be helpful for those with vision loss to understand what kind of environment they’re walking into before going into the stadium,” she said.
“Otherwise you’re bumping into things and there’s no way to find out where you’re going you’re just weaving aimlessly around in open space.”
Recently the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, one of the groups involved in the planning process to ensure the stadium met accessibility needs, hailed Mosaic as “a monument to accessibility in Canada.”
Busch feels the stadium falls short of that goal.
She wishes planners had followed up on her suggestion to incorporate indents in the floors.
“You could just follow it with a cane or have your guide dog follow it it’s not bumps that people would trip over, but a straight line that’s easy to follow,” Busch said. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”
Dylan Earis has been going to Saskatchewan Roughriders games since 2003 and has had season tickets for 10 years. The 25-year-old has cerebral palsy, so getting around the old stadium was challenging.
“There were no elevators so I was being pushed up these ramps,” Earis said. “It was way tougher to get to the seats.”
Seating allocated for people with disabilities in the old facility was cramped, with no room between wheelchairs.
“You were always running into people and having to apologize,” Earis said. “There’s none of that in the new stadium, so that’s definitely a positive.”
Rolling through Mosaic Stadium in a wheelchair, he likes the wider concourse because he’s “no longer crashing into people.”
The elevators are also a welcome addition, but he has a beef with able-bodied people who line up to use the elevators ahead of those with disabilities.
“For a number of games, I’ve had to wait for three or four elevators it’s a rat race,” Earis said. “I do wish they had a better system.”
He’s also concerned because buttons for the power-assisted doors don’t always work.
“It’s not a problem for me because I always have people that come to the games with me, but for people who go alone I can see how that can be an issue,” Earis said.
About 200 accessible parking spots are available close the stadium, located west of Confederation Park and south of the Sportplex, but those spots come with a price tag.
Paid parking was a recommendation from the community to guarantee parking spots for those with accessible needs.
“At the old stadium, parking was free,” Earis said. “Now a season pass for parking is $300, so I said, ‘I’m not doing that! But they do have designated drop-off areas which I think are really good.”