Consultation process at Park Avenue YMCA leads to a solution that is viable for all parties

    MONTREAL, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - At a press conference today Du Parc
YMCA management announced its decision to install clear windows with blinds in
fitness room 2B. "We believe that this solution is viable for everyone, and
our decision is final," said Du Parc YMCA manager Serge Saint-André.
    The Park Avenue centre's management reached this conclusion through a
consultation process. Given the unusual circumstances, Du Parc YMCA management
first polled its membership to determine their opinion and test a few possible
solutions. It also consulted some of its partners, as well as interested
volunteers. The findings were then discussed with the Local Advisory Committee
(LAC), which is made up of volunteers from the community where the YMCA is
located, including members, non-members, participants, residents, and
representatives of partner organizations. Its role is to provide consultation
and represent the community to YMCA management. The LAC finally submitted a
recommendation along the same lines as the poll results.
    Du Parc YMCA hired ADHOC Recherche to design the questionnaire and
brought in the firm BIP to administer the poll. The poll(1) was conducted from
February 17 to 28, and involved 302 members. "The poll told us that installing
clear windows with blinds controlled by users of the room was deemed to be a
somewhat satisfactory or very satisfactory solution by 72% of respondents,"
Mr. Saint-André noted.
    It is important to specify that installation of frosted windows in
fitness room 2B is actually not a case of reasonable compromise, but is
instead an example of good neighbourly relations. Moreover, the poll findings
show that 85% of respondents believe that Du Parc YMCA acted in good faith in
making this decision. In addition, 78% of them feel that Du Parc YMCA takes a
balanced approach in reacting to various requests from the entire community.
    Du Parc YMCA management also took care to notify its immediate neighbours
of the decision. "We discussed the situation with representatives of the
Hassidic Jewish community. We feel confident that our decision is the best one
possible under present circumstances," Mr Saint-André added.
    "All YMCA of Greater Montréal centres are involved in their communities,
and must field different kinds of requests from their neighbouring communities
every day," added YMCA Communication Director Marie-Josée Meilleur. The YMCA
is a meeting place of different communities, dedicated to finding solutions so
they can get along better. This is part of our mission. The many requests we
receive always are and always will be treated with diligence and respect.
However, the YMCA of Greater Montréal will build on this experience to improve
its guidelines for the handling of future requests."

    Facts of the Case

    - The decision to put blinds on the windows in room 2B was made 12 years
    - At the time, the YMCA had received several requests from the Hassidic
      Jewish community to block its view of the fitness room;
    - After several discussions with the Local Advisory Committee at the
      time, the decision was made to install blinds;
    - In March 2006, the broken blinds needed replacement;
    - After consulting informally with of a few users of the room, some of
      whom wanted to keep the blinds for the privacy they afforded, the
      management had frosted windows installed because this kind of window
      lets in light, and is also safe and more durable than blinds;
    - In November 2006, a petition was filed at Du Parc YMCA requesting that
      the frosted windows be removed;
    - Du Parc YMCA then decided to poll a representative sample of its
      membership, and asked the Local Advisory Commitee to submit a

    Through its physical fitness and community programs, the YMCA of Greater
Montreal seeks to develop a positive, friendly atmosphere where everyone can
find opportunities for self-development. It cultivates values of respect and
accessibility, and all its initiatives are designed to promote inclusiveness.
For example, children with special needs (autistic, epileptic, physical or
mentally handicapped) are accepted in its day camps because the YMCA believes
in integration. Access to the gyms is reserved for the use of youth from the
local neighbourhood free-of-charge at peak hours because the YMCA believes
that it is important for these young people to have a place where they can
gather and socialize. Resources permitting, the YMCA provides financial
support to underprivileged members through its Equal Access Policy because it
believes in open access to all services.

    About the YMCA of Greater Montreal (

    The YMCA of Greater Montreal, the first YMCA in North America, was
founded in November 1851. The mission of this charitable organization is to
develop the full potential of individuals in body, mind and spirit and to
foster self-reliance in persons, families and communities. Its ten centres are
visited every year by close to 150,000 people who benefit from its many
programs ranging from community, international and child development to
language courses and physical fitness programs. The YMCA of Greater Montreal
is a member of the Canadian network of 60 YMCA associations.

    (1) Margin of error : 5 % 19/20

For further information:

For further information: Katia Bouchard, Morin Public Relations,
Cellular: (514) 912-1838; Source: YMCA of Greater Montreal

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