Skateboarding

Bowness and Genesis Skatepark Construction Tender Cancelled (Again)

For any City of Calgary construction project over a $200,000, they use a  bid/tender system. That means they put out an RFT (request for tender) and solicit bids from interested companies.

You already know that the original tender for the construction of Bowness and Genesis centre skateparks was cancelled.

The City re-issued the tender and the results came in. Both bids must have been over budget again, as the tender was cancelled again.

For the record, the bids were:

Ellis Don: $1,804, 099.61
Wilco Southwest: $2,319,689.80

 

What happens next? We’ve been trying to figure that out.

We believe the issue is with the city’s tender process. They only allow pre-qualified contractors to bid. That means companies need to go through an application process prior to bidding.

Because skateparks are so specialized, many general contractors/construction companies have recognized that they aren’t equipped to build them. This is why they sub contract/hire out other companies who do have skatepark construction experience to bid with them.

The problem is, this results in higher prices because there is now a middleman marking up the prices. Not that there’s anything wrong with that– it happens all the time in the construction industry.

Issuing the tender late into construction season nearly always results in higher prices also.

There is one skatepark builder on the pre-qualified list (New Line Skateparks). Earlier Calgary skatepark tenders included language that didn’t allow them to bid as they were allowed in the design process, which may be why they did not submit a bid.

Skatepark construction in Canada is costing around $50-$60 per square foot for design and construction currently. Take Banff, for example. Their new park is about $1,000,000 for a little over 16,000 square feet. That’s $62 per square foot for design and build. Lethbridge too is getting a new park. Legacy Park skatepark will be about 15,000 square feet when complete at a cost of $840,000.

Together, Bowness and Genesis skateparks are about 16,000 square feet in size. The cost to build these should be well under $1,000,000 based on the about numbers in other Alberta cities.

The parks in Banff and Lethbridge were procured using a design/build process (request for proposals aka RFP), where the same company does both the design and construction. This works for skateparks a budget is set and the park is designed and built to that budget so it’s not possible to exceed that.

In the future, the City of Calgary should probably consider adopting an RFP process. If other cities in Alberta can figure skateparks out, Calgary should be able to as well. We shouldn’t be paying DOUBLE.

 

Carrington Skate Spot

It’s exciting that the new community of Carrington in Calgary’s northwest will become the first new community in the city to include a skatepark or skate spot.

These images were early representations of the design and the skate spot may look different when it’s complete. The concept proposes ledges, some stairs, and banks– a nice mellow skate spot.It’s scheduled to be complete by the end of September. It’s important to know that this park is being built by a community developer and is not included in the Skateboard Amenities Strategy.

Skatefest Competition at Westside August 12

If you’re 17 or under, you should check out the Skatefest competition at Westside Rec on August 12. It’s free to compete/attend and there will be a lot of prizes!

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

RAT ‘Zine #2

If you are a bit older and grew up in the punk/skate scene of the 1980s, you’ll remember ‘zines. If you skated in Calgary in that time period, you’ll probably know about RAT ‘Zine. It was created by John Hiebert and Craig Marshall.

John sent us a PDF version of RAT issue #2. Click here to read it. 

Bowness and Genesis Construction Re-Tendered

We told you how the construction tender for Genesis and Bowness skateparks closed near the end of June. There were two bids, both drastically different.

As a result, the city has canceled the tender. The low bid was non-compliant and the high bid was beyond the allocated budget.

The project has been re-tendered-– it closes on August 4th. Hopefully the results will be different this time. Unfortunately, we’ve lost about a month of construction time so there won’t be much opportunity to skate Bowness and Genesis parks if they are completed before winter.

They’ve updated the scope of work slightly to exclude “secondary tie in concrete pieces connecting them to the sidewalks in the existing areas” and  added a new category of applicant, landscape architects,  in hopes of increasing bids.

Remember that for a company to bid on City of Calgary construction projects, they must be on the pre-qualified list. We’ll keep you posted on progress.

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.

 

Bowness/Genesis Centre Tender Results

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.

 

Go Skateboarding Day 2017

Thanks to everyone who came out to our Go Skateboarding Day event at Millennium. Special thanks to sponsors: Youth Brigade, DC Shoes, Mission Snow & Skate, Vans, Artschool Skateboards, and City of Calgary Recreation. Calgary has a great skateboarding scene.

Go Skateboarding Day 2017 – June 21

Go Skateboarding Day is a day to celebrate skateboarding. There are lots of events going on around the city on GSD. Here are the posters for the events happening in Calgary on Go Skateboarding Day (June 21):

Donation to CASE

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