Skateparks

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

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.

 

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):

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.

 

UPDATE: Millennium Park Lasers

Millennium Park Lasers

Last week we told you about the lasers at Millennium Park. CBC spoke with a City of Calgary official who says they won’t be able to use the lasers anymore.

Read the CBC article here.

Listen to the CBC audio here.

Go Skateboarding Day 2017

Join us at Millennium Park between 4-6pm on June 21 for a free Go Skateboarding Day celebration!

 

Millennium Park Lasers

Did you know that Calgary’s Millennium Park skatepark has lasers? From the Laserist.org website:

Laser Fantasy International has completed work on Canada’s first permanent outdoor laser display. Located at the new Millennium Park in Calgary, the display features 24 separate beams that radiate like spokes on a wheel from the top of a 35-foot tower”

And from CanadianArchitect.com:

“The design features a spiral ramp surrounded by 24 columns, which deflect 24 beams generated in the centre of the scheme by two high intensity lasers to produce a 300-metre high tower of light. This installation is the first permanent outdoor laser display in Canada and its construction required approval from civil aviation authorities. The result is a spectacular combination of laser technology and architecture.”

Millennium Park Lasers

CASE has been communicating with the City of Calgary Parks department in an effort to get the lasers turned on for a special occasion. Stay tuned for updates!

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