Boys' change room at the Ridgetown arena. December 18, 2017. (Photo by Sarah Cowan Blackburn News Chatham-Kent).

Councillor Addresses Change Room Issues At CK Arenas

After controversy surrounding change rooms at the Ridgetown Arena, a Chatham-Kent councillor has stepped up to look into the situation.

Councillor Bob Myers is presenting a motion at Monday night’s council meeting, which calls for administration to prepare an information report that outlines┬ádressing room usage at each arena in Chatham-Kent.

“I’m trying to have a report that gives us some information analysis of all the dressing rooms that are at each arena, just to see which dressing rooms are set aside for dedicated use by teams or organizations,” says Myers.

Myers says he wants to avoid another situation like the one in Ridgetown.

“Because the decision that was made in Ridgetown caused a lot of problems for the girls on co-ed teams that use that arena–and it caused a lot of controversy actually all across Canada — I just want to make sure that we have a proper policy or procedure in place so that this thing doesn’t happen again,” says Myers.

According to Myers, problems arose when the AAA Cyclones travel team took over a change room at the Ridgetown arena.

“The problem was this dressing room that was being used at Ridgetown was a girls’ change room for co-ed teams that have boys and girls on them,” explains Myers. “By letting the Cyclones use it, there was not space for the girls on those co-ed teams to have their own separate dressing room.”

He adds that the situation becomes complicated when multiple teams are playing at the rink.

“In Ridgetown, there are four dressing rooms, so you could have two teams that are playing on the ice have dressing rooms and the next two teams that are going to go on the ice have dressing rooms,” says Myers. “Now those could be all girls teams for example, so they use those same dressing rooms that the boys would use at different times. The only issue arises when you have a co-ed team and you don’t have enough facilities to accommodate everyone.”

Myers says if the arena does not have a separate girls’ dressing room, the four existing dressing rooms would all be used up by the boys and the girls would have nowhere to go. He says he feels all arenas in the municipality should have separate dressing rooms and washroom facilities for girls.

Myers says he does not fault the Cyclones in any of this because they were simply looking for a space for their team. He says the arena has taken steps to find a solution.

“What they’ve done is they’ve moved some washroom facilities around and they’ve made some changes with some of the offices that were in that arena. Then they’ve revamped one of those rooms into another dressing room for the girls on those co-ed teams,” says Myers.

Myers is requesting that the information report includes the cost of renovations at Ridgetown that were needed for a girls’ dressing room, as a result of leasing the original change room to the AAA Cyclones. He also wants to know the value of the lease from the AAA Cyclones.

If approved, the report is to be made available for the February 12 council meeting.