Quiet Rooms – A Welcome Addition to the Community
Whether it is for contemplation, prayer, or just a break to yourself – Quiet Rooms are being hailed as a welcome addition across the community. Earlier this fall, MacDonald Island announced the addition of a Quiet Room on the second floor adjacent to the gym following in the footsteps of the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre, the Fort McMurray International Airport, as well as similar rooms in Municipal buildings.
Caitlin Downie, Supervisor, Neighbourhood and Community Development Corporate and Community Services for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) has been front and centre in the campaign to acquire these much needed rooms, and says they were a priority based on community feedback.
“Our community is one of the most diverse in Canada and ensuring that people feel welcome, safe, and included should be a priority. Over the last several years, I've had the pleasure to work alongside fellow Collaboration for Religious Inclusion (CRI) members to promote religious inclusion and advocate for more inclusive spaces throughout the region. When the group first came together we wanted to engage, educate, dismantle stereotypes, and create opportunities for people to connect with each other across religions.”
“One of the first initiatives we started talking about was opening Quiet Rooms that could be used by anyone who needed a private space for reflection, meditation, thought, and/or prayer. For many people these spaces are not just convenient but necessary. The rooms are an important practical step in moving towards inclusion and equity for all,” added Downie.
CRI worked with a number of abovementioned organizations in the region to secure Quiet Rooms as well as five rooms in five different Municipal buildings to be used as Quiet Rooms.
Mohammed Ali Al-Zabidi, President, Markaz ul Islam, the Islamic Centre of Fort McMurray applauds the Quiet Rooms.
“We are excited about these Quiet Rooms, especially the one at MacIsland. We appreciate the efforts of CRI and the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council Fort McMurray chapter, who have been working on this initiative for the last few years. Our region has diverse cultures and faiths and these rooms are bringing collaboration and unity to our community. We are now looking forward to having one at Shell Place.”
Graig Walsh, CEO, Regional Recreation Corporation, noted the MacDonald Island Quiet Room was allotted thanks to the efforts of Mayor and Council, and following public consultation.
“This is one more step towards our motto ‘It’s All Here.’ We had conducted patron surveys this year, and knew there was a need for a Quiet Room. Plus, we have a diverse employee base, and this adds to their workplace experience. We continue to look at Shell Place for a future Quiet Room there,” Walsh shared.
Murray Crawford, Senior Operating Officer Area 10, Northern Lights Regional Health Centre was one of the key players in ensuring the hospital basement had a Quiet Room when a previous one was suddenly needed for a different function.
“We’re continuously identifying ways to better reflect the needs of our patients and their families at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre. One of the priorities we’ve identified is providing inclusive services and spaces that represent our diverse community. One example of this is our Quiet Room, which is located in the basement at the hospital near the administrative offices and cafeteria. In this space, there are tables, chairs, as well as a mat for prayer. The Quiet Room was identified and set up through consultation with our Alberta Health Services Provincial Diversity and Inclusion team, as well as facility staff and community input,” noted Crawford.
“We’re very pleased to see that the Quiet Room continues to be used regularly. This welcoming and comfortable space can be accessed by staff, patients and families of all religions and faiths. It can also be used for those who need a few minutes to gather their thoughts. Additionally, we’re grateful to see that our community has been receptive to the space. Our goal of making the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre a more inclusive place for all residents of Wood Buffalo is just a small part of the many inclusive activities that are happening in the region,” he said.
For RMWB Mayor Don Scott, Quiet Rooms are a symbol of an inclusive Wood Buffalo.
“I commend the Regional Recreation Corporation, its leadership and team members for incorporating a Quiet Room at MacDonald Island, as they worked alongside the Collaboration for Religious Inclusion, its member organizations and the Municipality to make this a reality. I am also pleased to see Quiet Rooms being opened at various municipal buildings, the Fort McMurray International Airport and the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre. We are a region that celebrates diversity and we always want to make sure we are doing what we can as a community to make people feel welcome. This includes taking steps to develop safe spaces and places of reflection in public facilities and areas where we gather together as a community.”
Celebrating diversity and inclusion one Quiet Room at a time – that’s our amazing region.