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:

City of Calgary Skateboard Ramp Bylaw – Final Vote November 7th

The updated “sports ramp” (skateboard ramp) bylaw goes to City of Calgary council on November 7th for final approval. Administration has been working on the wording and technical aspects of the bylaw and now council must vote on it.33

On June 20th, council voted to “Direct administration to prepare amendments to Land Use Bylaw 1P2007 that would implement the proposed regulations set out in Attachment 2“, meaning city staff could keep working on the bylaw changes. The vote was 10-5 with the following councillors against:

R. Pootmans, A. Chabot, S. Chu, D. Colley-Urquhart, P. Demong

On September 22nd, the Calgary Planning Commission recommended that council approve the new ramp bylaw.

If you support having the ability to have a ramp in your yard, feel free to contact these councillors  mentioned above and respectfully explain why this new bylaw is needed. A lot of work has been done regarding the perceived noise of ramps and the city’s studies have shown that ramps are no louder than any other recreational activities that people participate in on their property.

You may also attend the council meeting on November 7th to support changes to the skateboard ramp bylaw by speaking in City of Calgary council. #calgaryskateboarding


Changes to City of Calgary Ramp Bylaw

Last year, we aided Councillor Evan Woolley in writing a notice of motion to change the outdated ramp bylaw which prohibited ramps on private property.

We’re happy to say that, on June 20th, city council passed updates to the bylaw which will allow ramps that are 6 meters long by 5 meters wide by 1.5 meters high (or smaller) on private property.

ramp nom
You can see how each councillor voted here. View the statistics of what citizens of Calgary thought from City of Calgary Engage studies here.

The bylaw isn’t finalized yet. City staff still need to do some consultation on the wording of the new bylaw. This will likely be completed this fall. We’ll keep you updated.

Read more about it in the Calgary Herald.

We’re extremely grateful for Councillor Woolley’s support on this. He’s one of the forward thinking politicians on council who has supported skateboarding since he got into office. Give him a high five or buy him a beer if you see him!evan_woolley

Calgary DIY Skate Spot Article in Metro

Metro News published an article about “The Slab”, the DIY skate spot located in Forest Heights. The article interviews the creator of this skater-built and maintained skatepark and tells us that the City of Calgary parks staff is aware of it. Click the photo below to read the article:

Photo by Jennifer Friesen - Metro

Photo by Jennifer Friesen – Metro

CASE supports the DIY park and would like to see it incorporated into the city’s skatepark network. The southeast community of Forest Heights is not scheduled for a concrete park as part of the Skateboard Amenities Strategy. Unfortunately, nearby Applewood was originally slated for a skatepark but the project did not move forward due to lack of interest, according to the Site Selection Report.

Site Selection Report Map

Site Selection Report Map

If you are skating at the Slab, be mindful of residents and the creators of this unique spot. We want it to last as long as possible– it’s been there for three years already! Similarly to well-known DIY skateparks like Burnside and Leeside, keep it clean, pack out what you pack in, and just respect the space.

Skateboard Ramp Bylaw Update

The City of Calgary Planning department recently released the results of their engagement for “sports ramps”. You may recall that Calgary has a bylaw which prohibits skateboard ramps on private property. That bylaw is currently being repealed after a notice of motion was filed by Councillor Evan Woolley.
The city conducted an online survey, open houses, as well as a telephone survey. The results of those surveys showed that the majority of Calgarians polled support having skateboard ramps on private property. Strong support (72%) came from the telephone survey, which is a random sample that’s designed to be representative of all Calgarians. You can review the results for all three surveys by clicking the timeline below:

ramp bylaw1

City of Calgary Engage Timeline

Now we wait for the next step, which is on June 1st when bylaw and planning staff present their findings to the Standing Policy Committee on Community and Protective Services. That committee is made up of seven councillors and the mayor. The meeting is open to the public.

After that, the committee’s findings will go to council for the final review on June 13th.

In an interesting twist, the city has made a “policy shift” on ramps on public streets (as well as street hockey nets and basketball nets). According to their recent tweet, ramps are now allowed on streets, provided they don’t obstruct traffic and are removed after use.

City of Calgary tweet

City of Calgary tweet

Thank you for your patience and support on this. We’re optimistic that ramps will be allowed on public property later this year!

Changes to Ramp Bylaw Building Momentum

Longtime Calgary skater, Rich Coumont had been ordered by bylaw officers to remove his backyard ramp or face massive fines. CTV News caught up with him to get his side of the story. Read it by clicking the image below:

Rich Coumont's ramp

Rich Coumont’s ramp (courtesty CTV)

Ramp Bylaw Engagement Results

The City has published the results of the engagement on “sports ramps” from the fall.
UPDATE: the image below is a screenshot of the online survey results, which are no longer available. You can still view the results of the open house by clicking below:


Ramp Bylaw Survey: One Week Left

There’s only one week left to complete the ramp bylaw survey.
This is your chance to let the city know why it’s important to be able to have ramps on private property. Calgary is the only city in Canada that has a bylaw like prohibiting ramps so click the image below to get to the two-minute survey:

skate treehouse

Ramp Bylaw Notice of Motion

You’re probably aware that Calgary has had a bylaw banning ramps on private property since 1986. On June 29th, Councillor Evan Woolley put forward a Notice of Motion to amend the bylaw. Council passed the motion.
This is a good first step towards changing the bylaw but there’s still some work to be done which will be presented to council in 2016.
In the meantime, we strongly suggest contacting your councillor and explaining why it’s important to change this bylaw. All councillors are listed at this link, so find yours and use the contact form to reach out.
You can read how each councillor voted by viewing the agenda minutes here. Scroll down to 8.1.2 “SPORTS RAMPS”.
Read more in Metro, Calgary Herald, and Calgary Sun.

Calgary Ramp Bylaw Being Repealed

Under Calgary’s Land Use Bylaw 1P2007, Section 344 (7) skateboard ramps are not allowed:

“A skateboard ramp must not be located on a parcel.”

However, Councillor Evan Woolley hopes to change this unnecessary bylaw when he makes a notice of motion next month. Let’s hope it goes better than last time a councillor tried this.

The Calgary Herald ran an article on this topic today:

Calgary should repeal ‘outdated’ backyard skateboard ramp ban, says city councillor
Trevor Howell, Calgary Herald More from Trevor Howell, Calgary Herald
Published on: May 15, 2015
wade cose ramp

Calgary’s longstanding bylaw banning skateboard ramps on private property is outdated and should be scrapped, says Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley.

The inner-city councillor says he will introduce a notice of motion by the end of June to repeal the existing rule and allow homeowners to build ramps on their yards — a practice the city outlawed in the mid-1980s over growing hue and cry the wooden structures were dangerous, unsightly and noisy.

“Skateboarding is very mainstream,” Woolley said. “We should have no business deciding what kind of activities we allow and don’t allow in a backyard around sports.

“Let’s not forget, skateboarding is a sport,” he added. “If someone wanted to put a little ice rink in their backyard so their kids could play sports we would fully let them do that.”

The backlash against skateboarding in Calgary stretches back to the 1980s when the sport experienced a surge in popularity among kids and teenagers.

With few amenities, skaters typically honed their skills on city streets, sidewalks, parking lots and, in rare instances, in their backyards on large three-to four-metre-high “vert” ramps, popularized by then teenage professional riders like Tony Hawk and Christian Hosoi.

City officials reacted by banning skateboarding on most sidewalks and roads and by 1986 began cracking down on the proliferation of ramps that could have “a detrimental impact on adjacent properties,” according to a planning commission report at the time.

Former alderwoman Barb Scott described the growing number of ramps as a “critical, critical problem” successfully spearheaded the bylaw that remain in place today.

Over the past 30 years, the public’s perception of skateboarding has shifted dramatically as the sport grew into a multi-billion-dollar industry and gained mainstream acceptance through high-profile televised competitions.

Cities across North America slowly began building skateboard facilities, including Calgary’s renown Shaw Millenium Park, which opened to much fanfare in 2000.

Yet Calgary may be the only major Canadian municipality that prohibits ramps on private property, said Zev Klymochko, founder of the Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts.

“No one wants a 12-foot-tall vert ramp in their neighbours’ backyard that obstructs their views,” Klymochko said. “And that’s not what we’re expecting. Now it’s mostly mini-ramps, which average about four feet in height.”

Wade Cose, 41, stood on his first skateboard 30 years ago.

Seven years ago, Cose built a four-foot by 16-foot mini-ramp in the backyard of his southeast home. Within six months, the city forced him to tear it down. He promptly dismantled the ramp and moved it into a newly built garage, where it remains.

“We were going to build a garage eventually, but it was always going to have a mini-ramp in it,” he said.

“If they’re really looking at it I would say put some limitations on it for size. You don’t want someone putting a vert ramp in their backyard,” Cose said.

Klymochko said Calgary’s building and noise bylaws could prevent larger ramps from being built or used too early in the morning or late at night.

Further, he said allowing ramps on private property promotes a healthy activity and lets parents monitor their kids in a relatively safe environment instead of having them skateboard on the street.

“In some ways it’s similar to the secondary suite issue where there’s already dozens, if not hundreds, of these ramps in Calgary already,” Klymochko said. “This would just decriminalize it for people who already have ramps on their properties.”

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