• The City of Montreal has announced new plans for the forthcoming Rosemont Aquatic Complex.
  • Most notably is the decision to opt for one, universal change room instead of two, gendered change rooms.
  • The hope is that the decision will increase accessibility and optimize space.

The City of Montreal has made some exciting announcements about the new Rosemont Aquatic Complex that is to be built and opened by 2020.

According to the city's website, the Aquatic Complex is set to meet LEED-Gold certification, making it high in positive environmental impact as well as human benefit.

The complex is going to be built at the corner of 8ième Avenue and rue de Bellechasse in Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, with the long-term plan being the grouping of the complex, the Rosemont Library and a new Maison de la culture, which will take the place of the old pool.

Most notable, perhaps, is the city's decision to opt for only one, universal change room, instead of the traditional dual changerooms that serve males and females, respectively. 

According to TVA Nouvelles, this decision was, in part, championed by Nathalie Goulet, head of social inclusion for the executive committee of the City of Montreal.

For Goulet, this decision is a mark of social innovation and a move toward social gains that she feels significantly outweigh the financial investments required.

Apparently, the president of The Association of Aquatic Managers of Quebec, Lucie Roy, is also on board. Roy feels the decision promotes accessibility, optimizes space and still manages to preserve privacy. 

Though it's the last point, for certain, that will have pool patrons most concerned. 

The pool itself will be 25-metres long with eight lanes, accompanied by a secondary pool, bleachers and "multifunctional rooms." 

The universal change rooms will consist of:

  • 18 closed stalls that include a shower and a changing section
  • 6 closed stalls without a shower
  • 12 washroom stalls, which can serve as changerooms 
  • 3 open showers with soap
  • 2 showers on the pool deck
  • several lockers, both full and half size
  • a storage room for school and other groups

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Patrons will be required to remain clothed unless in a closed change room, shower or bathroom stall. The open showers with soap are noted as "no nudity," on the city's website.

The Rosemont Aquatic Complex won't be the first in Montreal to opt for universality, though. The Piscine Lévesque, located at 955 rue Marie-Anne Est, has had universal access to the pool via a universal change room since April 2018.

On the city's website, they list several reasons for deciding to go with a universal entrance and change room for the Piscine Lévesque.

Those reasons include:

  • Accessibility to all citizens
  • Allows families to be together in one place
  • Facilitates access to school groups, daycare groups and summer camp groups
  • Accessibility for people with reduced mobility
  • Facilitates site monitoring and maximizes user safety
  • Facilitates maintenance and intervention at all times, for both male and female employees
  • Optimizes the use of the space

Seems pretty hard to argue with all that logic.

Are you on board with making public spaces less gendered and more universal? Let us know @MTLBlog on Twitter.

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