We at CASE firmly believe that Calgary needs an indoor skatepark. It’s nearly impossible to skate outdoors in this city for well over half of the year due to the snow and cold.
In a major city like the one we live in, there should be a facility to accommodate a group of around 40,000 (estimated) users.
Many privately-run indoor skateparks have come and gone in our city for a variety of reasons. Some may have been poorly run, but the main reasons for their failure are as follows:
-Prohibitive real estate costs: it’s no secret that Calgary has expensive real estate — we’re known for it. Because rent is usually calculated by square foot, the relatively large area required to house a skatepark becomes pricey. Especially when placed in a desirable, accessible area with parking and a building that is not dilapidated with no obtrusive support pillars.
-Insurance costs: it is very difficult to find a company to who will provide insurance for a skatepark. The few that provide this service in Canada charge exorbitant amounts, mostly due to hysteria created decades ago when skateboarding was deemed “unsafe at any speed”.
These two factors add up to a hefty price tag to skate at an indoor skatepark. $10 to skate for a few hours? Most people would say “no way!” Of course, a facility would have to be very good to be able to charge anywhere near that and Calgary has had such facilities. Even then most skateboarders had trouble coughing up cash for something they can generally do for free outdoors in warmer months.
Indoor skateparks in Canada are not impossible to achieve however. Regina, Saskatchewan has had one running for over a decade and their model is proven to work. The City of Regina has donated the building and therefore takes on any insurance liability. The staff are paid through grants applied for annually but the skatepark is self-sufficient and actually turns a profit from the small user fees and concession stand. It’s only $3 to skate for a day and most of the revenue goes back into the park for events and ramp maintenance. Helmets are required. Local skateshop, The Tiki Room volunteers time and effort to run it. Click here to view more images of the park. Video link.
Calgary can get back on the skateboard map. Our city was once a hub of skateboard activity with many facilities running simultaneously which were visited by top pros. All we need is the help and support of City council and we’ll be rolling — outdoors and indoors. Hopefully Calgary will be known for something other than high real estate costs, The Stampede, and lack of skateparks.