Concerns over design of changerooms at new Cambridge Recreation Centre heard at Council

By CityNews Kitchener Staff

The latest controversy surrounding the forthcoming Cambridge Recreation Centre has to do with the design of the changing facilities.

The design calls for genderless, universal changerooms with common areas for lockers, sinks and mirrors but locking stalls for changing or using the washroom.

Several delegates addressed Cambridge Council last night, ahead of a vote to approve the design plans. This included one delegate that was eventually cut off by Mayor Jan Liggett. Security eventually was asked to escort the person out of council chambers.

“I am asking you to please stop now,” said Liggett. “You are going in a direction that is not allowed here.” Liggett continued and said that the comments being made had nothing to do with the facility in question. The delegate and mayor disagreed. Mayor Liggett asked them to sit down multiple times before security was asked to remove the person from council chambers. The exchange can be viewed here.

Those opposed raised familiar issues like privacy and safety, while proponents touted the inclusivity and forward thinking of the plans.

“This isn’t really new” said Bill Kirby, a delegate at Tuesday night’s meeting and the father of a transgender child, “it’s engaging concepts that allow for greater visibility, security and openness.”

The design isn’t all that dissimilar to family changerooms that have existed in public pools for decades.

And changing the plans at this stage, could be costly for the city.

The timeline for construction of the $108M facility calls for shovels to go into the ground this July with an opening date expected to be September, 2025.

Ultimately, council voted 7-2 in favour of the design as it stands and the project will go ahead as planned.

The city has a dedicated web page to the design of the recreation centre that can be found here.

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