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Changeroom designs for Cambridge Recreation Complex cause tension at council meeting

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Designs for the future Cambridge Recreation Complex were causing tension at a city council meeting Tuesday.

The images for the universal bathroom and changerooms were shared during the meeting. They show gender-neutral common areas, with private stalls for changing and using the restroom, and multiple entrances and exits.

Project managers say the plan was made with safety, accessibility, and privacy in mind, while some residents say the designs are step forward for the community.

"The revised floor plans are a testament to the team's inclusivity," one delegate said. "They showcase designs that mirror our community's collective desires, needs, and aspirations."

A number of residents and councillors also expressed their concerns with the co-ed space designs at the meeting.

"Separate male and female washrooms, a family washroom, and universal washrooms, everyone is happy, safe, and everyone's needs are met," another delegate said. "Why can't we have the same set up for this new facility?"

Project managers say they can't estimate the cost of changing the designs, but emphasized they are in the late stages of planning.

"If the council does not support this and we do want male and female bathrooms, it will cost the taxpayers – I'm not sure if I heard this correctly – two million dollars to change it back," said Ward 1 Coun. Helen Shwery. "I found that astounding and that it's almost holding people over a barrel."

The price tag for the new rec complex is around $108 million. Construction is slated to start in July 2024 with doors opening to the public in September 2026.

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