Similar to bike riding, skateboarding is an "unstructured" recreation activity. There are no rules, no timeframes - it's free play and is critical to the healthy development of our youth. In addition to being an accessible physical activity, skateboarding naturally encourages creativity and individuality, among other benefits.
Background and Research
Skateboard amenities strategy
It is estimated that there are more than 35,000 skateboarders in Calgary. This number does not reflect those who inline skate or bmx. Nor does it take into consideration the increasing demographic of scooter riders in Calgary. Together, they represent a significant demographic – 50,000+ strong.
According to the 2013 Alberta Recreation Survey, this group of "wheeled sport" participants is greater than the total number of lacrosse or tennis players in Calgary!
Recognizing the vast gap in the amenities vs. the amount of users, Council approved the Skateboard Amenities Strategy (SAS) in 2011 as the guiding document to address this gap.
In 2012, City of Calgary staff from across different business units came together to determine the best means and methodology for implementation of the SAS.
Taking into consideration that engagement and greater community support is critical to the development of skateboard amenities, we announced an open-call style application process for interested community associations. In 2013, we received 27 applications from communities in all quadrants of Calgary.
Once the site viability was determined, the project team then established criteria to equitably and strategically evaluate all applications. In addition to the criteria listed in the SAS (pg. 62) additional criteria include but are not limited to; demographic need; index of community well being; potential as a community hub; site amenities, integration into open space system; connection to trails, access to public transit; parking availability; maintenance and service levels; high visibility; and an active environment which includes a variety of activities for all ages.
Upon determination of the top 10 rated sites, an online engagement tool was launched city-wide. This information led to our top 8 rated sites.
Project update: Spring 2015
We are working hard on the implementation and building of eight skateparks in the following communities:
While a site has been proposed and approved in principle, further engagement is required with partners, stakeholders and community residents to proceed.
Chinook Park, Kelvin Grove & Eagle Ridge
This skatespot will be complete in the late summer or Fall of 2015. The inspiration behind this site is "elbow river deposit" – which incorporates different materials and textures, aggregate and boulder seating features.
Through our engagement process in 2014, we heard that residents and users wanted to ensure a "natural feeling that integrates and contours into the existing space." In addition, residents requested that existing vegetation remain, wherever possible. We are happy to announce that these preferences have been included in the concept design.
This skatespot is anticipated for 2016. The inspiration behind the design is literally "deer run" or deer crossing - "creating worn and intersecting trails through forested areas or open meadows."
Through our engagement process in 2014, we heard that residents and users were excited that they would no longer have to contend/use the Deer Run community centre parking lot and that they wanted it located near a busy or active location with access to public transportation. Users also wanted rails, quarters and stairs. We are happy to announce that these preferences have been included in the concept design.
We are still working with partners, stakeholders and community residents to confirm the site. Through our engagement process in 2014, we have decided to investigate the potential of other sites in the area that meet the established criteria. Update expected Fall 2015.
This community skatepark is anticipated for the summer or fall 2015. This is a slightly delayed timeframe due to the size of the bowl feature and water drainage/storm sewer modifications.
Through our engagement process in 2014, we heard that residents and users wanted to ensure that the site was accessible to both bowl riders and technical "street style" users. We are happy to announce that these preferences are included in the concept design.
This skatespot was inspired by the shape of Midnapore Lake. The flow design is meant to resemble moving water in the shape of the lake itself.
Through our engagement process in 2014, we heard that residents and users wanted to ensure existing trees remain, and sculptural elements are aesthetic, as well as, skateable. We are happy to announce that these preferences are included in the concept design.
This community skatepark is anticipated for the summer of 2016. We are very proud to include this amenity in the new multi-sport New Brighton Athletic Park.
Through our engagement process in 2014, we heard that residents and users wanted the following features: a flow style park, purple in the design because New Brighton's community color is purple, and a New Brighton sign. We are happy to announce that these preferences are included in the concept design.
This community skatepark is anticipated for the summer or fall 2015. The inspiration behind the design is based on A-frame houses and barns because the site was at one point a traditional working farm and/or a homestead and so "barn-red" wood and decking material have been incorporated.
Through our engagement process in 2014, we heard that residents wanted to ensure that the existing land and trees were incorporated into the design and not lost. User feedback indicated preferences for street style features with flow style park. We are happy to announce that these preferences are included in the concept design.
The SAS is excited to include public art as integral to adding to the urban vibrancy and character of a community. This public art project presents the opportunity for residents, user groups and surrounding communities to strengthen social ties to be creatively engaged in ways that encourage self-expression, new skills and ideas.
We continue to hear from interested community associations wanting a skatepark. The next call for applications is not yet planned while we focus our efforts towards getting these first skateparks built.