Pool Change Room Rule Scrapped

Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / goldenKB

A decision by London’s aquatics department to stop children over the age of 3 from entering opposite-gender change rooms at municipal pools has been scrapped.

“The change room posters will be removed immediately,” Councillor Mo Salih wrote on his Facebook page on Monday afternoon. “The posters are not reflective of city policy and the managing director has advised that he is ‘directing staff to remove the existing signage and to revert to the language in the parks and recreation area by-law PR-2 should a parent, caregiver, guardian or caretaker need to access the change rooms with children of the opposite gender younger than 12.”

Signs stating that “children over the age of 3 are not permitted to go into the opposite sex change room” were posted heading into the weekend at some city run pools, including Thames. The sign also stated “if necessary, please ask a staff member to escort your child through the proper change room.”

Sign posted at some municipal pools by London's aquatics department . Photo from Facebook.

Sign posted at some municipal pools by London’s aquatics department . Photo from Facebook.

Aquatics department officials had said that they posted the signs after hearing from other public pool users uncomfortable with children of the opposite gender being present as they changed.

However, the signs were met with a harsh outcry from area parents on social media.

“Pretty stupid if you ask me. If you don’t have universal change rooms at all the facilities you shouldn’t enforce this. I would never let my 3-year-old out of my sight,” wrote Suscram Rebot.

Rylie Guest responded with “so some people’s comfort is more important than a child’s safety or sense of security?”

“No way in hell I would let either one of my boys (7 and 3) go into a change room by themselves or with a complete stranger. I will continue to bring my children into the women’s change room with me as it keeps them SAFE,” added Amanda McNeil.

Salih also wrote that city staff will review the parks and recreation bylaw that currently allows children 12 and under can go into an opposite-sex change room if accompanied by a parent, guardian, caregiver or caretaker.

“The bylaw will be before council in September to ensure it’s inclusive. Apologies to all those who may have been impacted,” Salih stated.

Universal change rooms are available for families to use at most of the city’s newer facilities but do not exist at the older pool sites.