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.
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.
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’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:
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.
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