Known as “The Bridge”, it was build by a handful of hard-working shredders known as DIYYC beginning in July 2016.
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.
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.
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.
There are plans to expand the Bridge; at press time there was a major built of a new obstacle.
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.
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.