After a 14 month period of construction between March 2014 and June 2015, the new Omagh Accessible Shared Inclusive Space (OASIS) Plaza above the Translink Bus Depot was opened to the general public to see.
Costing approximately £4.5 million, the project was unveiled a year after work had begun on the site. The OASIS Plaza can hold up 2,000 people with a stage area, outdoor gym, seating area and interactive equipment.
Today (Wednesday 24th June) I took myself down to the OASIS Plaza and had an initial assessment for disability access and broadcast my journey live over Periscope.
I was very impressed with the structure and the access onto it. There are three main points to get to OASIS Plaza. From Drumragh Avenue, across the new walk-way bridge from Old Market Square and using an elevator from the bus depot, you can access it from all angles.
Each of these points posed no problems that I could find. All the surfaces were flat and did not cause any obstructions on my wheelchair.
I spoke to lots of people on my tour of the Plaza and got their views. I spoke to one mother, who has several children with autism and did not wish to appear on camera. She told me of her delight at this project and how she cannot wait to return at a later date with her children.
She said, as well as being a beautiful spot on the top, there were lots of activities that would help stimulate her children. The water structure, which generates a whirlpool was something in particular that she spoke about and she how much enjoyment would be got from that.
Down the riverbank is a little more raw and in touch with nature, however proper access was not over looked. Wheelchairs appear to have full access to all the areas and the surface again causes no apparent difficulties for anyone who has mobility problems.
So after my initial assessment, I have to give OASIS Plaza full marks. They have created something genuinely wonderful for the people of Omagh, a place to come and relax, have some fun and most importantly, be a community together.
I will continue to monitor the Plaza and see how the access holds up under the many different weather conditions we are all too familiar with in Omagh and see how that affects the access.
Until then, get out and visit the OASIS Plaza today.