CASE recognizes that the St. Jude/Woodcreek Recreation Area school playground and “skate park” will be enjoyed by many kids and will be a welcome addition to their community. This park is on its way to becoming reality through the hard work of well-intentioned volunteers. But the St. Jude/Woodcreek Recreation Area plans do not meet any of the criteria for a quality skateboard park as outlined in the Skateboard Amenities Strategy and therefore CASE does not support it.
The planned “skate park” is a series of modular, steel/composite ramps and obstacles set on a flat slab. According to the Skateboard Amenities Strategy, modular skateparks deteriorate quickly and create safety concerns. They are also more expensive in the long run due to wear and tear*. In fact, the largest funder of municipal skateparks in the world — the Tony Hawk Foundation — does not recommend modular skateparks**.
Unfortunately (and against the wishes of CASE) this park will influence the City’s evaluation of the Woodcreek area as a viable candidate for a quality skateboard park.
CASE has worked very hard over the past years to gather feedback from skateboarders on what makes a quality skateboard park. We took this information and worked with the city to help create the Skateboard Amenities Strategy. The strategy outlines what constitutes a quality skateboard park. Future skatepark development in Calgary must be:
-made out of site-built, poured custom concrete
-designed and built by experienced, qualified skatepark planners, designers and builders
-have CASE, the skateboard community, and other stakeholders involved throughout the process
We hope the members of St. Jude/Woodcreek Recreation Area will consider waiting until later this year when the Skateboard Amenities Strategy will be implemented. Calgary will see several new concrete skateparks planned in 2013 and with the momentum St. Jude/Woodcreek has they are surely looked upon favourably as a frontrunner for modern skatepark development.
*”In addition to driving up costs, deterioration of modular units creates safety problems: sharp edges, loose screws, and widening lips and joints. In a pitch for a quality concrete park to his city hall in Arlington, Washington, Chris Raezer of Skateboard Alliance, an advocacy group for quality skate parks, referred city officials to two local modular parks, Bothell and Mount Vernon. Both parks were less than three years old and had already suffered significant wear and tear. His presentation included photographs of loose screws with kneepad plastic wedged underneath. And, he noted, not everyone wears kneepads.” From SAS (7.3)
**”Upon review of this documents and several others on both Skaters for Public Skateparks and The Tony Hawk Foundation it is recommended that only integrated, site specific, concrete skateparks be considered for the Skateboard Amenity Strategy.” From SAS (7.3)