City council is about to reissue a survey to see whether people want a women’s, men’s, and universal change room at the Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre or one large gender-neutral change room with several small private change rooms within.
Citizens will have until April 22 to fill out the survey online or in hard copy, and council will consider the feedback in May.
Furthermore council may also “unbundle” the $3.25-million renovation project, meaning separate the essential work — such as the replacement of worn-out plumbing and HVAC system — from the renovation of the change rooms.
Council will consider revisiting that decision — to do the change room renovations at the same time as the plumbing and HVAC — at a council meeting on April 26.
“We need a sober second thought,” said Coun. Dean Pappas, the city’s finance chair.
The “bundled” project is a $3.25 million renovation that was to take place this summer at the 15-year-old Wellness Centre.
But many people protested the concept of the gender-neutral change room and questioned whether the city ought to be spending money to redesign change rooms at all.
Meanwhile city staff have also been directed to find out whether the city can keep $1-million in funding from Queen’s Park to help pay for the project, even if construction gets delayed.
The city had planned to do the project this summer; construction was to be done by year’s end, or else the funding is revoked. The idea is for staff to ask for an extension on that deadline in to do further public consultation.
Coun. Lesley Parnell, the city’s arenas, parks and recreation chair, asked that the city try to offer accurate information on the city’s plans because it could change people’s minds.
“We’ll re-survey. We’ll educate, to make sure the correct information is in the community…. And hopefully still keep that $1 million,” she said.
City council made those decisions on Monday at a virtual meeting after hearing from 10 citizens who didn’t want the city to remove the gender-specific change rooms alongside the universal one.
No one spoke in favour of the design, which architect Bill Lett told councillors at a previous meeting is a great example of inclusivity.
Citizens who spoke to council Monday didn’t see it that way.
Tricia Clarkson said she supports the idea of retaining a universal change room alongside the gender-specific ones — that this is more inclusive.
Bev Quinlan told councillors that only 11 per cent of the members filled out the survey, and that the question of whether people want a single change room was never asked.
Lindsay Shaddy said the original survey never asked people whether they wanted “a radical gutting” of the change rooms. She asked council to “restore sanity” to Peterborough by reversing the decision.
Alan Gordon, 91, said he’s a member who was denied any opportunity to fill out the survey.
“As a person who doesn’t have a computer, I felt shut out of the original consultation,” he said.
Melissa Bursey, a mother of three young boys, said one point being missed in the conversation is that the renovation plans will remove the child-minding area — and that there will be no childminding service (which she has used and found invaluable).
Although Riel didn’t mention childminding in later comments, he did say he didn’t want any “window dressing” in the renovation plan — he said there’s no need for a café at the Wellness Centre, for example, because it’s long been “underutilized.”
Coun. Gary Baldwin questioned the need to go to a survey at all, saying he’s heard from people already and they clearly want to keep the universal and gender-specific change rooms.