Mayor Ashe’s Statement on Universal Changerooms at the CHDRC

Posted on Wednesday November 01, 2023
Pickering, ON, November 1, 2023 – I would like to address the recent concerns surrounding universal changerooms at the Chestnut Hill Developments Recreation Complex. These concerns have given rise to fears and misunderstandings in our community. It is crucial that we focus on the safety and well-being of all our residents.
Universal changerooms play a pivotal role in creating an inclusive and secure environment for all members of our community. These facilities have been successfully implemented worldwide, with a strong emphasis on ensuring that individuals of all ages, gender identities, and abilities can access recreational facilities without facing discrimination or discomfort. Here in our province, these rights are enshrined in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Safety is a top priority for our community, encompassing both physical and emotional well-being. These changerooms are designed to ensure a safe and secure environment for all users, with individual changing stalls to allow private changing.
Our facility and its users operate under a Respectful Conduct policy that addresses inappropriate behaviour, and any such behaviour is dealt with swiftly to protect our patrons. Our staff members are trained to be vigilant, ensuring the safety and security of all facility users, and they are ready to respond to any concerns or incidents promptly. It should be noted that there has never been an investigated incident on suspected predatory behaviour, or one that has resulted in assault, injury, or arrest.
As a parent with two daughters as well as a 7-year-old granddaughter, I am extremely confident in the safety and security of the universal changerooms, and I would have no reservations with them using these facilities.
It is disappointing that a Member of Council is continuing to spread this false narrative. These actions are in direct opposition to the will of Council, and can ultimately be harmful towards many members of our community.
Our community values inclusivity and is dedicated to providing a safe, welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of their gender identity. It is crucial that we work together to address misconceptions and fears, fostering an environment where everyone can participate in sports and recreational activities without fear or discrimination. By working together, we can create a more inclusive community where every resident is treated with dignity and respect.

As the gateway to the east GTA, Pickering (population 105,000) is strategically located where Toronto, York and Durham Regions meet. An award-winning municipality, Pickering is slated for significant economic and residential growth; offering an unparalleled quality of life for those who live, work, and play here. Its dynamic City Centre has been designated by the Province of Ontario as both an Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub, and continues to evolve as a preferred destination for creative learning, memorable events, and unique experiences at the heart of a vibrant, connected, and engaged community.

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