The construction tender for Bowness and Genesis skateparks has closed. Ellis Don was the low bidder at $980,789.04 while the next and only bidder was Wilco at $1,819,689.80



Yes, Wilco’s bid came in at nearly double Ellis Don’s. What does this mean?

It’s hard to say at this point. Take into account the square footage of both parks together: it’s about 16,000. We told you how much the new skateparks have cost to date and that cost per square foot is just under $100. The math on the Ellis Don and Wilco bids works out to about $60 per square foot and $110 per square foot, respectively.

As you as a skateboarder know, skateparks are less “construction projects” and more works of art. With wheel sizes hovering around 50mm, tolerances are low and there’s not much room for deviance or error. Even the concrete mixes for skateparks are unique. Rails must be at the correct height and angle, coping can’t stick out too much or too little, transition radii must be laser-accurate… we could go on, but you get it.

It’s not ideal when general contractors build skateparks. They’re great at building roads, and skyscrapers, but a lot of times they don’t understand the details that are required for quality skateparks.

Take, for example, the debacle with Southwood in 2015. The contractor poured concrete over top of the coping and the concrete all had to be ripped out. It’s not surprising that the one portion that wasn’t ripped out (clamshell) was dangerously crumbling and unskateable until some Southwood locals repaired it earlier this year.

Until the city starts allowing specialty skatepark construction companies to bid on the construction of Calgary skateparks, we’ll be nervous until the parks open and can be tested.


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