The Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre officially opened a gender-neutral and fully accessible universal change room on Friday, improving public access to Greater Sudbury’s largest municipal fitness centre.
“Public needs and expectations have changed in the 35 years since the opening of the Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger. “It is the intent of this renovation to make our facilities more accessible by providing a greater level of comfort and convenience for parents or guardians with young children, members of the community who may not feel comfortable using gender assigned facilities and persons with disabilities.”
The new universal change room has been adapted from existing space at the recreation centre. Washrooms and change stalls are private and are large enough to accommodate adults with young children. Patrons are required to wear bathing suits in the showers and common areas. This gives patrons of all genders access to the change room while maintaining privacy.
A private room meets legislated accessibility requirements for persons with disabilities with a modified shower, toilet, sink and transfer table.
“Barrier-free washrooms, showers and change stalls will make it easier for persons with mobility challenges to enjoy activities in the pool, fitness centre and gym,” said Ward 6 Councillor René Lapierre. “Continuing to ensure our facilities are family-oriented is of great importance and this new design provides just that. I am proud that we have been able to complete this essential update to the Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre within the capital budget. Everyone deserves equal access to opportunities for health and fitness.”
The Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre is the largest of five municipal fitness centres with close to 2,700 active members. The centre’s pool already has a wheelchair accessible ramp, lessons and programs for all abilities.
The renovation of the Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre, including improvements to existing men’s and women’s washrooms, change rooms and reception facilities, represents an approximate investment of $370,000 through previous capital budget allocations.