Why doesn’t Calgary have more skateparks? Edmonton is a smaller city and they have a bunch of good parks.
This is a common question for most Calgary skateboarders. While there is no “official” answer, we’ll take a stab at answering it:
When Millennium Park was completed in 2000, it was the biggest in the world. Calgary was smaller than it currently is, population-wise. The prevailing view toward skateboarding was, “we gave you the biggest park in the world so that should keep you happy.”
Although Millennium has its shortfalls, it did keep us skaters happy for a while. And maybe the fact that we had the biggest park created a view in our minds that we shouldn’t ask for more.
Fast forward a decade or so and skatepark development has come a long way. There are professional companies made up of landscape architects, engineers, and expert concrete finishers who design and build world class skateparks with carefully developed techniques. Calgary’s population has also grown about 30%.
Skateparks being built these days are better than they have ever been. Some of the recent parks built in Edmonton demonstrate that. Edmonton has nearly ten skateparks within the metro area and there is talk of more.
It’s mostly been the community associations who have driven the Edmonton skatepark projects. That means that an area’s residents have an association which help promote well-being and a sense of community. You should be able to find yours here. We strongly encourage you to join or contact your local community association and let them know that a skatepark is needed in your area.
Generally an idea like a skatepark (or playground, hockey rink, etc) gets started at the community level. Someone brings that idea to a monthly community association meeting where it may be voted on. If enough members/residents think it’s a good idea, they will contact their ward alderman (find yours here). After that, the alderman presents the idea to council where it is voted on, funds are earmarked, etc.
The city of Edmonton has been better at getting things done at a community level. And what happens with this type of thing is that when one community does it, the others see what they accomplished and want to do the same– a snowball effect is created. That’s exactly what went on in Edmonton.
As far as progress toward getting more parks built, yes we have made some. We have been in talks with a couple of community associations. We’ve given them information and done presentations. We speak with alderman and City staff. They know we exist and that we need more skateparks. We worked on the Skateboard Amenities Strategy which has set a framework for many parks. There are two rec centres in the works that have skateparks in the plans.
We need help from everyone to get more parks. As mentioned above, contact your community association and alderman. Use Facebook, Twitter, e-mail– whatever you can to get the word out.