Bay of Plenty’s iconic Bayfair is not only the region’s largest undercover shopping centre with 130 stores and eateries, but it’s also proudly accessible to shoppers of all abilities.
In 2015 Bayfair was the first shopping centre to ever secure a Be.Welcome Platinum ranking, and it has won awards the last four consecutive years for its inclusive and innovative designs.
"Our team prides itself in thinking about the big picture when it comes to providing the best for the community," says Centre manager Steve Ellingford.
Bayfair is well lit to ensure good visibility and any permanently fixed objects are easy to detect by anyone using a cane. All centre entrances on the ground floor and have automatic doors that are wheelchair accessible, and retailers have easy to navigate routes with a minimum width of 1200mm.
As part of its recent $115 million development project, the centre installed a fire evacuation visual alert system, mounted Braille wayfinding signage across all amenities and updated the store directory to include Braille for people with hearing and visual impairments.
Additionally, a second parents' room and another set of mobility scooter charging stations have been added to ensure short-to-no wait times for parents who need to tend to their children and those needing to re-boot their mobility scooters.
Along with an increase in the number of car parks, Bayfair allocated additional spaces for those with mobility permits near centre entries, including the first three levels of the car parking building, with wheelchair access ramps where required. The centre also added a dedicated accessibility pick up and drop off zone.
Bayfair has also considered the comfort of visitors with sensory processing and autism spectrum disorders to open a quiet room to relax in that was developed with guidance from Autism New Zealand.
"It is difficult for families affected by sensory processing and autism spectrum disorders to go to busy public places – in fear that they won't be able to find somewhere suitable for their family and their needs,” says Steve.
Bayfair has carefully integrated inclusive facilities and services so that everyone can enjoy its eateries, fashion and lifestyle stores, the Bay’s largest cinema complex, and its weather-protected alfresco dining precinct.