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2017 Municipal Election Candidate Questionnaire Results

Last week, we sent a short questionnaire to all candidates running in the Calgary 2017 Municipal Election.

Remember, the election is on October 16th but you can vote early from October 4-11. We encourage you to learn about the candidates running in your ward. Vote for whoever you think will do a good job and represent your vision for the city.

Click below to learn how the candidates responded to our questionnaire. They’re sorted by Mayor or Councillor and then by ward. If you’re not sure what ward you live in, click here. If a candidate is not listed, they did not yet complete our questionnaire. We’ll be updating it daily as more responses come in until election day.

 

Mayor
Councillor – Ward 1  Councillor – Ward 8
Councillor – Ward 2 Councillor – Ward 9 
Councillor – Ward 3 Councillor – Ward 10 
Councillor – Ward 4 Councillor – Ward 11 
Councillor – Ward 5 Councillor – Ward 12
Councillor – Ward 6 Councillor – Ward 13
Councillor – Ward 7 Councillor – Ward 14

Interview: Councillor Evan Woolley

Ward 8 Councillor Evan Woolley has been Calgary city council’s top supporter of skateboarding (and CASE).
From helping return Millennium Park back to a 24-hour park in 2015 to putting forward a successful notice of motion in 2016 that changed a 30 year old bylaw which banned ramps on private property, Councillor Woolley has helped our city become a better place to skate.
Woolley has also helped out at several Millennium spring clean ups and co-lead a Jane’s Walk Skate in downtown Calgary.

Photo by Marlene Hielema

 

Why do you have so much love for skateboarding?

My love for skateboarding started when I was a kid. At the age of 10, seeing kids cruising around on boards was just the coolest thing to me. The sport really captured my imagination and I saw it as an important counter culture movement. I’ve seen the dedication and perseverance it takes to learn tricks or to get up after a really bad fall translate into my life and lives of my friends. Now that I’m older, friends of mine who skated as kids/teens/young adults are now business owners, directors, professional photographers and more. I think the skills and lessons learned through skating have without a doubt led them to be as successful as they are today.

Alderman Joe Conelly tried many years ago to change the prohibitive ramp bylaw but could not get any to second his motion. To what do you attribute the support you received from council on your ramp bylaw notice of motion?

I think as time goes on, attitudes change. Calgary is one of the youngest cities in North America and as new generations grow up in this city, we’re seeing shifting mentalities. A lot if it was hard work to break the stereotypes surrounding skateboarding. If you can have a basketball net or a tennis court in your backyard, why shouldn’t you be allowed to have a skateboard ramp? Why shouldn’t your young daughter or son be allowed to safely practice a sport that they love? We did a lot of work and due diligence to to make sure we worked with the community on what type of ramps the city would support – making sure they’re safe and feasible.

 

Our city seems to have embraced skateboarding in the past few years. The Skateboard Amenities Strategy has seen six new, free outdoor concrete skateparks created. To what do you attribute the “new outlook”.

Again, I think with a city as young as Calgary (The average Calgarian is 36 years old) we crave vibrancy. I also think that our City Council has recognized that kids being out and active is a great thing in general — whether it’s a new playground or a new skate park.

Do you still skate?

I do! Not as much as I would like. Just this past summer I went out with a rad group of people on Go Skateboarding Day and toured around the city with friends. No matter how long I go without skating, getting on a board again always feels great.

We’re hoping skateboarding will be allowed in downtown Calgary. Can you help us with that?

Yes, that work is underway. Having a skatepark downtown, but not allowing skateboarding downtown is a pretty ridiculous problem.

Photo by Marlene Hielema

With the election coming up on October 16, what’s the most important message for citizens of Calgary to consider?

I think the most important thing to consider is that our city is changing– we’re in a state of constant change. Our economy is changing and diversifying, there are opportunities and challenges with the growth in population in our city, and there will be constant impacts of technology on our daily lives.

Municipal Election Candidate Questionnaire

Last week, we sent out a questionnaire to all candidates who are running for council and mayor. Here are the questions. We’ll post the results shortly.



Calgary Municipal Election – October 16

Calgary’s municipal election is coming up on October 16th. There’s also advanced voting– check that out here.

Our current council has done some pretty good stuff for skateboarding. Some of them, anyway. Remember, they vote on issues and majority wins. Here’s a list of positive skate-moves by city hall since 2013 (the last election):

We’ll have more information before the election that will keep you informed when it comes to how the candidates (incumbents and challengers) feel about skateboarding. We’ll also post the incumbents’ voting records on the above issues.

Here’s how the current council voted on the proposed update to the ramp bylaw:

Seeking Additional Board Members

We’re seeking to add to our board of directors!

If you’d like to get involved and help steer the direction of Calgary skateboarding, please e-mail us and let us know why you’d like to get involved and what you can contribute.

Interview: Marvin Quashnick (Thorncliffe Greenview CA)

We’re fortunate to have a Skateboard Amenities Strategy that has been guiding our development of a skatepark network. Since 2015 we’ve had six outdoor concrete skateparks built in Calgary.
One of the most common questions we get is, “How do I get a skatepark in my neighbourhood?”
The simple answer is this: get a lot of people in your community interested in getting a skatepark built and then go to city staff with a plan.
That’s what the Thorncliffe Greenview Community Association (TGCA) did. They were one of the neighbourhoods selected for a new concrete skatepark in 2014. They had a supportive community. We spoke with Marvin Quashnick from TGCA about their Huntington Hills skatepark.

Who are you & what do you do?:
Marvin Quashnick, VP for Public Service for Thorncliffe Greenview Community Association (TGCA). This is a volunteer position that relates to planning development, transportation, and parks within the community and advocates to government for community issues & its residents.

Photo by Robert Bishop

Were you involved with Huntington Hills Skatepark?:

Yes. The TGCA board had been discussing/debating the possibility of a skatepark for Thorncliffe for as long as I can remember. Nothing ever went further than casual talk until 2012. We were encouraged by a letter sent to then Councillor Gael Mcleod by a 12 year old Thorncliffe resident about the need for a skatepark in Thorncliffe. This coincided with a tragic skateboarding incident in the city, highlighting the need for safer places. Finally compelled into action, we pursued parks about a possible location for a skatepark near the TGCA facility. Again coincidentally the city’s skatepark strategy had just been released and parks indicated that they were considering a site in Huntington Hills. They asked if we would consider supporting this location instead. Even though this was outside of our community boundaries it was obviously the right choice to make as ironically the Huntington Hills was closer to more Thorncliffe residents than the site we were initially interested in. Furthermore it satisfied more criteria to create a larger more regional skatepark. The Huntington Hills Community Association were gracious enough to allow us to continue our advocacy in their community and were subsequently very supportive of the project. TGCA continued to be part of the process until the grand opening last year and we hope we can continue to support it into the future.

Why was there a need for a skatepark in Huntington Hills?

There was a need in Huntington Hills because there was (and continues to be) a tremendous need for skateparks in the entire city. The lack of this type of infrastructure in this city has until recently been appalling. Although Millennium Park was something to be celebrated, it was one facility in a city of a million plus. The shortest of excursions to the smallest of towns would demonstrate clearly how far behind this city was. The location of the Huntington Hills park serves a region, not only a community. Its placement in that community, however, is close to schools and other well-used recreational facilities and I’m very pleased the skatepark is the proverbial crown jewel amongst them.

Photo by John Rajic

What’s been the reaction from the community since the skatepark was built two years ago?

The key word in the question is community.
The reflexive answer is to describe resident response. That has been for the most part tolerant to supportive.
When we talk of community response it is also important to talk of the community that belongs to the facility but not necessarily resides within the area. This community’s reaction has been fabulous not only to use and enjoy the facility but to care for and maintain it as well.
This secondary community has consequently created a tertiary community which is the more amorphous essence of rejuvenation itself.

Photo by John Rajic – edited by Jaron Whelan

What would say about communities who are unsure about getting a skatepark in their area?

Short answer: Do it!
Long answer: Skateboarders still retain fragments of outlaw or laggard. This is demonstrably false. The activity is at its height the epitome of precise athleticism yet can be entered into economically by almost everyone. All the more so with the right infrastructure. What is often not as obvious is the tremendous “community building” potential a skatepark can bring.

On a visit to the Airdrie Skatepark when TGCA was still considering whether to advocate for the Huntington Hills park or not, I was struck by the utter vitality of the place. All the more obvious when juxtaposed to the totally vacant tennis/basketball courts adjacent. Not only were there a multitude of skaters & BMXers of a wide age range but families picnicking next to the bowl and elderly people enjoying the vibrancy. “This is the essence of community”, I thought. How could TGCA not advocate for this, for this is who we claim to be.

Photo by John Rajic

Share Path Video

This post was originally published in 2012. It’s still relevant today.

We recently contacted City of Calgary aldermen and urged them to watch the video below, titled “Share Path Skate Path“.

The simple fact is, we need more places to skate. Did you know that Calgary has the most extensive pathway network in North America? And skateboarding IS allowed on the pathways, provided all other rules are being followed.

Wouldn’t some little skate spots and skateable art pieces be a nice addition to the pathways?

SHARE PATH SKATE PATH from Skate Sculpture on Vimeo.

 

Skateboard Strategy Update

From the Skateboard Amenities Strategy:

“Currently, The City of Calgary is in need of additional skateboarding area to meet the needs of the skateboarding population. It is recommended that the City develop an additional 243,860 sqft to meet the needs of the current skateboarding population. To meet projected needs of the skateboarding population over the next 10 years, it is estimated that a total of 277,607 sqft be constructed.”

The above image shows the size of the parks built in 2015 and 2016 in square feet. The total is about 50,000. That means we still have a lot more skatepark terrain to go, if we’re sticking with the recommendations of the Strategy.

Click below to read it if you haven’t yet.

 

What Flamingo Girls’ Skateboarding Tour

The ladies from 100% Skate Club are collaborating with artists Eric and Mia for “What Flamingo”, an all girls city-wide skate tour and collection of events.

Beginning on June 21 (Go Skateboarding Day), the ladies will tour Calgary skateparks, host a photo workshop, and premiere a skate video.

Follow 100% Skate Club on Facebook and watch Eric and Mia’s website for updates.

Interview: Marlene Hielema

I met Marlene a few years ago while skating at Millennium. She was skating and shooting photos and I was impressed by how passionate she was for skateboarding.
Some time later I witnessed Marlene speak publicly about her passion for skateboarding. It was a very traditional setting and she brought her skateboard up on stage to the podium. The theme was “joy” and Marlene talked about the joy skateboarding brings her. She said that after many years, she’d finally found her tribe. It was inspiring to hear someone tell a few hundred people how she’d gotten back into skateboarding after many years and felt like she fit in. That’s one of the great things about skateboarding.
–Zev Klymochko, CASE Co-Chair

Where are you from?

I was born in Toronto, but lived in Calgary as a kid and through school. I moved back to Toronto in 1986 to go to Ryerson University and then returned to Calgary in May 2000. Never thought I’d leave TO. But I’m staying here in Calgary now.

How and when did you start skating?

I started skating when I was 13 on one of those banana boards. It was so crappy and wobbly, but I had so much fun on that thing. I lived on a quiet cul de sac in Varsity, so I skated on the street. Our driveway had a good slope to it and it also attached to our neighbour’s driveway, so I went down ours and up theirs and kick turned at the top and did it over and over again for hours every day.

When I was 14 my family went to La Jolla, California for spring break, and that’s when I got a real skateboard. G&S Fibre Flex with Bennett Pro trucks and Road Rider 4 wheels. It cost $75 USD in 1977. That was a lot of money for a kid like me. I don’t think skateboards cost that much in today’s value. I had saved up $45 so my parents had to kick in the extra $30. I still have that setup.

I also built a couple of wooden ramps with scrap wood from some condos that were being built nearby. I stored the ramps on our neighbour’s driveway, as theirs had a flat parking spot at the top, and they were super cool people. One of them is still alive and still lives there! That’s when I fell in love with transition skating. To this day, I still love kick turning on the tranny, as you probably can tell from all the photos of me doing that. Or maybe that’s my only trick.

I understand you stopped skating for a while. What brought you back into it?

Ya, in high school I quit skating for some reason. Probably because I got in a bit of trouble now and again with my best friend (also a skater girl) in grades 8 and 9, so I went to a high school far away from my neighbourhood to break the cycle. I started over. I was pretty quiet and introverted in high school – more like uncomfortable. I should have kept skating as I know that would have helped me through those tough times.

Throughout the years, I occasionally pulled out that vintage Fibre Flex board and my skate sense always came right back.

But I really got back into it four years ago (when I was 50), when my 12 year-old neighbour kid got a longboard for her birthday. I pulled out the old Fibre Flex and hit the bike paths with her. This time the skate sense turned into a bigger stoke and within days I went out and bought a long board from Royal Board Shop — a classic shape with a kick tail, of course.

How did you get involved with 100% Skate Club?

A friend of mine saw the Metro newspaper article about Erica (Jacobs) when she started 100% Skate Club and thought I might be interested. I was at the club’s first session at Millennium Park in April 2015. The weather sucked and the skatepark was empty except for 8 of us girls. I took that neighbour girl along too. I was so pumped to be at a skate park, as it was new to me. We has so much fun cruising around Millz, that we didn’t even notice the cold and snow flurries that night.

I was hooked! Doing the weekly skate sessions with 100% Skate Club changed my life. I don’t think I missed one session that first year! I wasn’t very good at skating, but soon realized that it doesn’t matter how good you are. It still feels great.

As we all know, skaters celebrate your small successes with you. Skate Club was such a fun and supportive environment to be in. And really for the first time in my life, I felt I truly fit in somewhere. I found my tribe.

I soon realized that the whole skate community was my tribe. To this day my heart skips a beat when I see skaters, or hear the “clickity-clack” of a skateboard when I’m out and about.

During that first season I became close friends with Erica, Maggie, and Bryena. We ended up forming the core group of the club, because Erica couldn’t do it all by herself. Plus, I think we all wanted to give back, because Erica gives so much of her time and energy to women and girls skating in Calgary. It was natural for us to want to help out. Currently I manage the 100% Skate Club Facebook page and do the photography for the club.

Our membership exploded in season two of the club. That was probably due to a couple of media stories about us. Global TV did a story on us at Huntington Hills last April. And now it’s not uncommon to have 20 to 30 of us at each session. And a few of us gals with more flexible schedules skate together during the day when the kids are in school, and some of us skate on the weekends too. But we are all connected through the Wednesday night 100% sessions.

100% Skate Club

Where do you like to skate most?

Huntington Hills is my home park and I have to say, also my favourite in Calgary. I need a bit of gravity to keep me rolling and the drop in is high enough so that I maintain a good speed around the bowls, with enough in the tank to pop out at the end. I know the regular crowd at Huntington, most of them are  dudes in junior or senior high school. I love their energy and I think they’re awesome! And they’re super encouraging to me, and they make me laugh a lot too. Who knew I’d be 54 years old and hanging out with teenaged guys every day.

Huntington Hills Skatepark

You travel to skate fairly often too. Where do you like to go?

I’m hooked on California skating. I go there 2 to 3 times a year just to skate. I’ve got a bunch of older skater girlfriends down in SoCal and it’s like being with family when we get together. When I got down to meet them we skate a couple times a day and tour a variety of parks. They were there cheering me on when I dropped in for the first time last May at the private backyard Iguana Bowl in Encinitas. I was high for days after that!

Most of the California parks are quite challenging for me. The drop ins I do there are huge compared to what I have the guts to do here at home. Strange but true. I think it’s because I get encouraged, and caught up in the stoke. Plus when you have highly experienced women skaters around, you naturally want to keep up with the fun, or at least try to. I have to give myself a break sometimes though, because a lot of those women are 10 to 20 years younger than me, and skate nearly every day of the year.

A park in California

You’re kind of like one of the caretakers are Huntington Hills skatepark. Do you think people respect the parks enough with regards to taking care of them?

I sure hope people respect the Calgary parks. It’s not always evident, but I think things are improving. We need to be stewards of our parks, and the rest of our city too. Have some pride! Most of the parks I skate in California, you have to pay to get into. Some are $10-15 a day! And they are open limited hours. So good luck skating before noon or after 10pm on a week day, like we do here.

City of Calgary skateparks are all free to skate, and they aren’t gated, so the least we can do is keep them nice in exchange. We, and our parents have paid taxes to build those parks. Let’s get the best value for those dollars. If we don’t, the new city council that’s getting elected this fall might not want to spend the money to build more skateparks in the future. Skater’s choice! p.s. Make sure you vote for skateboarding positive candidates too!

When I started skating I learned about taking care of the parks from the old boys crew I skated with at Millz. Before each sesh they went about sweeping rocks, and picking up garbage.

Very often when I start picking up trash at Huntington Hills, the other skaters will start picking it up with me. It takes 2 minutes for the whole place to be cleaned up. My hope is that people will do this when I’m not there too.

Same goes for shovelling in the winter. I had the best time getting to know the shovel crew this past winter. I’ve got a bum shoulder (from a bad slam last year) and don’t have the muscles to do as much snow hauling as the guys, but I helped organize the troops for Pat (Magnan) on a few occasions, because he was wearing out, and a bit shy to ask for help. I used my Instagram account to reach out, plus I know all the Huntington regulars, so I’d just show up with shovels and brooms and hand them to people. A couple 100% Skate Club members also came out to shovel too.
You’re a professional photographer and instructor. How did you get into that?

I got my photo degree from Ryerson in 1990, and then went to grad school so I could teach at the college level, and in 2004 completed a Masters at U of C, in Communications. I did corporate and industrial photography in the oil and gas industry for a few years too. I loved that. Crawling around refineries, terminals, tank farms, lube and grease plants. My job was to make people and structures look beautiful.

I started teaching photography at ACAD in 2004, then at SAIT in 2008 and a few classes at Red Deer College a couple years back. My career has evolved over time, as they do. I don’t do any corporate photography anymore. I mainly shoot for fun now and only work with fun clients. I always loved teaching though, and have been teaching my own online photo courses since 2010 at www.imagemaven.com

Now at my age, I’m conciously trying to enjoy my life more. Life is short. You realize that when you know you’re past the half way point, or a couple of your friends get cancer, or your parents need your help more each passing year. I worked like a dog for many years when I was younger. I’m playing as much as I can now – living in the moment and enjoying every minute. Skating and the skate community keeps me happy and strong, both physically and emotionally.


How does photography tie into skateboarding for you?

Being creative is definitely part of the happiness equation for me. I get as much joy from shooting skaters as I do from skating. Skating and photography go together. It’s just as much of a challenge to get a really good photo as it is to do a really hard trick. But you need to learn what that peak moment in that trick is, and capture it in the best possible way.

 

I follow a lot of skate photographers on Instagram and I’m inspired by them as well as the skaters who I work with on the photos. I’m still working on my signature style. Not sure if I’ll ever get one, as I’m having too much fun experimenting.

I’m also happy to help anyone with their skatepark photos or take photos of anyone who asks me, so don’t be shy to hit me up when you see me.


Are you looking forward to What Flamingo?
Yes! It’s going to be awesome. For those who don’t know yet, What Flamingo is a 5-day women’s skate tour of the Calgary skate parks. It starts on Go Skate Day, June 21, and runs until Sunday June 25.

What Flamingo brings two of our favourite Canadian women skaters to Calgary to skate with 100% Skate Club babes for a week in June! Melanie Mercier is the co-founder of Chickflip in Vancouver and skates with Sillygirl Skateboards. Annie Guglia hails from Montreal and among many other sweet things, rides for Meow Skateboards.

There’s going to be lots of open skate sessions, a Go Skateboarding Day park take over, a trick clinic, the Calgary premiere of the all-women’s skate vid, “Quit your day job” featuring Annie, a 100% Skate Club fundraiser, and Melanie is gonna be launching Dame Skatezine Issue #2 here in Calgary!

What Flamingo was created by artists Eric & Mia with 100% Skate Club as part of The City of Calgary’s Public Art Program and Skateboard Amenities Strategy.

As part of What Flamingo, I’m teaching a skate photography workshop for women. I’m super stoked to be able to share my knowledge and launch a new crop of women skate photographers in Calgary.

So you will see a few more camera-wielding skater chicks around the skateparks of Calgary this summer. Smile and give them your best trick!

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