Accessibility advocate and “Man In Motion” Rick Hansen announced Tuesday in St. John’s that Husky Energy’s downtown offices and the building in which they are housed — 351 Water St. — have received an Accessibility Certified Gold rating under the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) program.
A news release states that these are the first two gold certifications in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Congratulations to Husky, East Port Properties and thank you to all 133 BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association Canada) member sites who participated in this accessibility challenge,” Hansen said.
“When both tenants and building owners and managers work together, we can create real change. One of the most significant barriers people with disabilities face is access to their built environment, and nowhere greater is this felt than in the workplace. Accessible and inclusive workplaces mean that persons of all abilities can live without physical barriers, and I’m delighted that these organizations are committed to removing barriers and leading the way towards improving accessibility for people living with disabilities in Canada.”
The release notes that RHFAC is the first program to rate meaningful access, based upon the holistic user experience of people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing.
To date, over 1,200 buildings across Canada have been rated through the program.
Encouraged to have their sites rated for accessibility through a challenge led by the BOMA Canada, Husky and 351 Water St. both rated highly enough to achieve the Gold certification, both demonstrating their commitment to removing barriers and improving access for people of all abilities.
Owned by TD Greystone Managed Investments and managed by East Port Properties Ltd., 351 Water St. provides improved accessibility within the building, which benefits the over 555 people who work there each day as well as many visitors.
The Husky Energy office and 351 Water St. accessibility features include:
- Space design that utilizes a “right to light” methodology — natural light is allowed to flow towards the interior core;
- A well-illuminated space that utilizes an automated system often referred to as daylight harvesting;
- Entry doors into spaces and washrooms with power operators on them;
- Wayfinding: Every floor in the office building has colour coding to match glazed walls, signage and furniture, indicating what floor you are on;
- Individual ergonomic workstations have height adjustable desks, task lights and monitor arms, offering an unlimited number of setups and arrangements for all users;
- Generous aisle widths and interior circulation spaces;
- Large kitchens on all floors with varying seating arrangements and heights for people of varying abilities.
- Coffee stations are outfitted with recessed sinks for persons in wheelchairs;
- Meeting rooms with a small electronic “room view” device on the outside which indicates if it is in use, free, or booked;
- A telephone room was recently converted into a wellness room, to provide employees with some private space.