New Location for Bowness Skate Spot

Calgary’s newest skatepark location has been announced! Bowness skate spot will be located in Queen Elizabeth Park, also known as 77 Street Park. Engagement from 2014 will be honoured so preliminary designs will be released early in 2017!
You may recall that the original location near Our Lady of the Assumption School was kyboshed last year for various reasons. The new location has the support of the community association, councillor, and Calgary legion located nearby.
Watch for more information in the near future.

Skateboarding in Cycle Track?

Check out the latest Metro Calgary article exploring skateboarding in Calgary’s cycle track by clicking the image below. Do you think skateboarding should be allowed in the cycle track?

Victoria, BC’s skateboard-friendly bike lane sign

December CASE Meeting

Our October board meeting is on Wednesday, December 14th. Please let us know if you’d like to attend.

Cabbage II Video Online Now!

Calgary skate video Cabbage II is online now. Watch it below:

Cabbage II from Nicholas Cupelli on Vimeo.

Matt Allen Video: Calgary Skateparks

Matt Allen put together this sick video featuring a lot of Calgary’s best skateboarders at all the new skateparks. Enjoy:

Are Skatepark Staff Needed in Calgary?

Do you think Calgary’s skateparks should have staff?

The mobile skateparks are staffed, Westside Rec Centre skatepark has staff, and Millennium Park had staff from the time it opened in 1999 until 2008.

The word “staff” can give the wrong impression. These aren’t “park narcs” that will tell you to put your helmet on or stop swearing. The staff at Millennium Park were all skaters and loved skating at Millennium. They had access to the small office in the building at in the middle of the park. There, they replaced bearings and hardware, tightened/loosened trucks, and did first aid for minor injuries. Usually they had extra helmets and wax for whomever needed them. Most of the staff were quick to grab their broom and dustpan and sweep out areas where debris blew in– before the Parks staff got there. They also called 911 in the rare case it was needed.

millennium-t-shirt

Another function of the Millennium skatepark staff at was to record how many people were using each area of the park: beginner, intermediate, expert, and general observers. This was done hourly. These statistics are valuable as they actually show how well-used the skatepark is.

Perhaps the most important job of the “skatepark hosts” was educating users and observers. Whether it was telling someone why they shouldn’t sit on a ledge or spit where everyone stands, the hosts made a difference. Etiquette was at the forefront of their duties, including teaching newer users the flow of the park and how to take turns. Novice users would be directed to beginner areas where they could hone their skills at an appropriate level. We know that the Millennium skatepark staff taught more than a handful of skaters how to drop in.

They also taught observers about the history of the park and even helped introduce some of them to skateboarding.

Let us know: should Millennium and the newer skateparks have staff?

The Bridge Spot DIY

We’ve mentioned Calgary’s DIY skate spots a couple of times and now there is a new spot that has seen a fair share of work go into it by some dedicated skateboarders.

Known as “The Bridge”, it was build by a handful of hard-working shredders known as DIYYC beginning in July 2016.

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It started with the smaller triangular barrier along the bike path, but grew to several obstacles on the west edge of the land. Mostly covered by a bridge (hence the name), the spot is skateable in the rain, provided the wind isn’t blowing too hard. It’s not lit.

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The creators of the Bridge urge you to respect the spot. It was created by them, at their own expense. The rules are pretty simple: No bikes, no scooters, no littering, and no graffiti. We don’t want this spot to go the way of Toronto’s recent DIY skatepark.img_4822

Police have checked it out and seemed to have given passive approval so far. They recognize that the creators and users of the Bridge are keeping an otherwise unusable empty lot clean. Skaters are also activating a dead space, driving out potential illicit activity.

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There are plans to expand the Bridge; at press time there was a major built of a new obstacle.

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Many casual observers and non-skaters might as, “Why do you need to build your own skatepark when there’s a huge one near by?”

There are a number of reasons. The first being to have a spot or park in Calgary that is solely for skateboarding. Many of us enjoy the new skateparks but at times they’re a victim of their own success– they can be really busy. When there are scooters, bikes, and other non-skaters using the parks, they can become tricky, not to mention dangerous to navigate, much less have fun at.

The second reason the creators of the Bridge built it is so that they could have something of their own. The satisfaction gained from riding the fruits of your own labour is unlike any other. Building it themselves has allowed the DIY crew to maintain a certain construction standard, where they need not worry about shoddy builds like the one at Southwood skatepark.

Consider a community garden, for instance. A group comes together for a common goal– to create a garden together so that they may harvest it. DIY spots are no different. They involve a community coming together to create something that they all can use and benefit from.

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The DIYYC would like to expand it, but they’re cautious. There’s a good chance a future pipeline might run along the tracks, very close to the Bridge spot. Too add more obstacles only to have them destroyed seems pointless, according to the Bridge spot creators. A lot of money, time, and supplies, has gone into the spot.

“Ideally I would like it if the city would just leave this place alone and see how it works, how it integrates with the community”, says one of the creators. “The Skatepark Amenities Strategy calls for ‘skateable terrain’ and that’s what we’re creating here. I’d love to see this be kind of like a pilot for future projects like it and maybe get neighbourhood kids involved. It seems hard to get kids involved in anything these days. We can do something like this elsewhere in the city and get the kids invested.”

He goes on to say, “I would love it if the city would come to an agreement with us and give us this parcel of land and let us build what we want, like Leeside. If we had to come up with a design or plans, we could do that.”

Here’s a little video of Dan R skating The Bridge, Fonda Slab, and a few other DIY spots:

DIY spots are new to Calgary. There’s no blueprint or “strategy” for them so they might be hard for some people to understand. As skateboarders, we recognize the need to create and tailor our own spots to our own needs. We hope DIY spots like The Bridge, Fonda Slab, and any other spots that might pop up will stick around and be accepted or at least be allowed to remain.

As always, give us feedback if you have anything to say about this spot. If you want to learn more about DIY spots, look up Burnside, Mark “Red” Scott and how Dreamland Skateparks began.

Thanks to Royal Boardshop

We want to give a huge thanks to Royal Board Shop for donating proceeds from the sale of their Huntington Hills and Southwood decks to us!

Thanks to everyone who bought the boards too. They are now sold out.

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City of Calgary Ramp Bylaw Updated!

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Evan Woolley photo

30 years after a City of Calgary councillor helped pass a the bylaw prohibiting ramps on private property, our current council has updated the bylaw to allow them.
Thanks to Councillor Woolley`s notice of motion filed last year, council voted 8-6 last night in favour of the bylaw updates which include: ramp size limits (6M by 5M by 1.5 M), location rules (backyards only), and setbacks. See full bylaw breakdown below.

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Richard Coumont photo

 

Here`s what was passed last night and will take effect November 21st, 2016:

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO LAND USE BYLAW 1P2007

1. The City of Calgary Land Use Bylaw, being Bylaw 1P2007 of the City of Calgary, as amended, is hereby further amended as follows:

(a) Delete and replace the text in Section 13(130) with: “(130) “skateboard and sports ramp” means structure(s) that provide a surface upon which an individual may use or operate a skateboard, bicycle, scooter, roller skates or other similar devices. Skateboard and sports ramp structures may include re-purposed furniture or other skateable or bikeable above grade surfaces, but does not include at-grade surfaces such as, but not limited to, soil, grass, wood or concrete.”

(b) Add a new subsection to section 25 as follows: “(e.1) the construction of skateboard and sports ramps located in the Districts contained within Part 5: Low Density Residential Districts, or Part 6: MultiResidential Districts;”

(c) Delete and replace the text in Section 60(2) with:
“(2) The rules regarding building design referenced in subsection (1) do not apply to:
(a) an addition that does not increase the gross floor area of the building by more than 10.0 per cent of the gross floor area legally existing as of June 09, 2014; and
(b) a fence, gate, deck, landing, patio, skateboard and sports ramp, air conditioning unit, satellite dish, hot tub, above ground private swimming pool, and an Accessory Residential Building.”
(d) Delete and replace the text in Section 61(2) with: “(2) The rules regarding building design referenced in subsection (1) do not apply to:
(a) an addition that does not increase the gross floor area of the building by more than 10.0 per cent of the gross floor area legally existing as of June 09, 2014; and
(b) a fence, gate, deck, landing, patio, skateboard and sports ramp, air conditioning unit, satellite dish, hot tub, above ground private swimming pool, and an Accessory Residential Building.”

(e) Add a new section 343.2 as follows: “343.2 “Skateboard and Sports Ramps”

(1) All skateboard and sports ramp structures must be located within the maximum envelope dimensions of 1.5 metres high by 5.0 metres wide by 6.0 metres long.

(2) More than one structure may be contained within the maximum envelope dimensions referenced in subsection (1).

(3) The maximum envelope dimensions referenced in subsection (1) do not include at-grade surfaces such as, but not limited to, soil, grass, wood or concrete.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection (1), railings for safety purposes may extend beyond the maximum envelope dimensions referenced in subsection (1) provided they are not designed or used as a surface upon which to operate a skateboard, bicycle, scooter, roller skates or other similar device.

(5) There must only be one skateboard and sports ramp envelope per parcel.

(6) All skateboard and sports ramp structures must be located between the rear façade of the main residential building and the rear property line.

(7) The height of a skateboard and sports ramp at any point is measured from grade.

(8) All skateboard and sports ramp structures, including railings for safety purposes, must be located a minimum of 1.2 metres from a side property line.

(9) All skateboard and sports ramp structures, including railings for safety purposes, must be located a minimum of 1.2 metres from a rear property line.

(10) Skateboard and sports ramp structures must not be included in parcel coverage.

(11) A skateboard and sports ramp must not be attached to a deck, another structure, fence, or building such as, but not limited to, a main residential building, Backyard Suite or Accessory Residential Building.”

(f) Delete subsection 344(7) in its entirety.
(g) Amend subsection 344(8) to bold the first instance of “parcel”.
(h) Add a new section 571.2 as follows: “571.2 “Skateboard and Sports Ramps”

(1) All skateboard and sports ramp structures must be located within the maximum envelope dimensions of 1.5 metres high by 5.0 metres wide by 6.0 metres long.

(2) More than one structure may be contained within the maximum envelope dimensions referenced in subsection (1).

(3) The maximum envelope dimensions do not include at-grade surfaces such as, but not limited to, soil, grass, wood or concrete.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection (1), railings for safety purposes may extend beyond the maximum envelope dimensions referenced in subsection (1) provided they are not designed or used as a surface upon which to operate a skateboard, bicycle, scooter, roller skates or other similar device.

(5) There must only be one skateboard and sports ramp envelope per parcel.

(6) All skateboard and sports ramps structures must be located between the rear façade of the main residential building and the rear property line.

(7) The height of a skateboard and sports ramp at any point is measured from grade.

(8) All skateboard and sports ramp structures, including railings for safety purposes, must be located a minimum of 1.2 metres from a side property line.

(9) All skateboard and sports ramp structures, including railings for safety purposes, must be located a minimum of 1.2 metres from a rear property line.

10) A skateboard and sports ramp must not be attached to a deck, another structure, fence, or building such as, but not limited to, a main residential building, Backyard Suite or Accessory Residential Building.

(11) Notwithstanding sections 550, 551, and 557, skateboard and sports ramps may be included in the calculation of landscaped area, hard surfaced landscape area, soft surfaced landscaped area or common amenity space.” (i) Delete subsection 564(7) in its entirety.

2. This Bylaw comes into force on 2016 November 21.

Respect the DIY Spots

There are now a handful of DIY skate spots in Calgary. DIY stands for “do it yourself”. That means that individuals or groups of individuals have used their own time and resources to design and build these skateparks.

DIY skateparks aren’t a new concept. Burnside Project in Portland, Leeside in Vancouver, FDR in Philadelphia, and Channel Street in San Pedro are some of the best known ones.

 

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Burnside

Skaters at these DIY parks adhere to a specific set of rules and often self-police them with tenacity that comes from pride– pride from pouring their hearts and souls into these parks. And it a many cases, a lot of funds.

Rules at Burnside, for example, include no scooters, no bike pegs, and no drugs or alcohol. It comes down to respect. If you respect the builders and the park, you’ll be allowed to skate there. If you disrespect it, chances are you will be very unwelcome by the locals and likely banned.

Channel Street

Channel Street

The function of “harsh locals” is two-fold– they keep out riff raff like drug users and others who seek out places to engage in illicit behaviours. They also ensure that no one is disrespecting their park. And make no mistake– it is their park. They built it so they get to say who uses it. Think of it as their house.

Leeside

Leeside

These rules aren’t that different from the sanctioned skateparks we have. PLEASE respect our parks, both DIY and legit. Don’t litter, don’t loiter, don’t snake, and just treat people how you would like to be treated. Offer help– chances are it will be accepted. Who knows, maybe you’ll become a local one day.

FDR

FDR

 

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