Nudity prohibited in swimming pool changing rooms?
Nudity prohibited – The City of Brossard has decided to prohibit nudity in the changing rooms of its two indoor municipal swimming pools. For the moment, there is no bylaw prohibiting nudity in either the men’s or women’s changing rooms, it is only a recommendation. But this may change soon; a new, $40 million swimming pool is destined to open there in 2019 without separate changing rooms for men and women; instead there will be a “universal” changing room.
Pool patrons are expected instead to use cubicles or toilet stalls for dressing and undressing while keeping their swimsuits on in the changing rooms and shower areas.
Roland Bérard, a longtime local resident and regular swimmer, told CBC that this new policy is a backward step. Now 67, Bérard has been using the pools for decades, including when he had young children taking swimming lessons. He agrees with the idea of “showing discretion” in such areas.
Éric Leuenberger, the assistant directer of leisure services in Brossard, meanwhile mentions that there were complaints received by the city about nudity in the changing rooms. He further suggests that Bérard “get used” to the new rules. Showing discretion is presumably most problematic when young children are present.
Many swimming pools in Montreal built in recent decades are equipped “universal” or “family” changing rooms in addition to separate men’s and women’s changing rooms. These family changing rooms are fitted with changing stalls and The Times has noted similar rules discouraging nudity already in force in the family changing rooms of LaSalle’s Michel Leduc Aquatic Centre (Aquadome), the NDG sports Centre, and the Little Burgundy Sports Centre.
The family changing rooms are usually used by families where the mother, father, and young children all prepare to go into the pool together. Montreal pools without family changing rooms typically permit boys less than six years old to accompany their mother into the women’s changing room or girls less than six years old into the men’s changing room with their father.
On a similar note, at the Cote des Neiges Sports Centre on Van Horne Ave., there are separate times on the swimming schedule for men and boys only on Thursday evenings while for Sunday afternoons there are times for women and girls only. The Times understands that this schedule was requested by the local population.
Leuenberger says that universal changing rooms at public swimming pools are common in parts of Europe, notably in Belgium, France and Switzerland. He says that such pools have rules against public nudity similar to what is proposed for Brossard.
The Times understands that public swimming pools in western Europe do not all have such prudish rules. We are hearing reports that public nudity is not prohibited at all in some Scandinavian pools and saunas. Similarly, once invited by Dutch friends to a public pool in Utrecht, this reporter was embarrassed to find himself the only person on the pool deck still wearing a swimsuit among a mixed crowd.
By: John Symon – mtltimes.ca