Last week, the Calgary Herald Editorial Board published an opinion piece titled, “Don’t Ramp it Up”, which grossly attacked skateboarding and made some extremely poor comparisons. It echoed their previous crack at skateboarding and skateparks, “Edgemont Skateboard Park Would Be Hell On Wheels”.
The CASE board sent a response directly to the Calgary Herald. To date, they have not printed it, nor have they acknowledged it. Here it is in its entirety:
Not every Calgarian is going to quietly sip Chardonnay in their backyard on a warm summer’s night. Your editorial suggests that kids and teenagers should stay inside. To compare the ramp bylaw to not allowing chicken farming within city limits is by far the furthest anyone has ever reached to disparage skateboarding in the decades that skateboarding has been around. Your issue is with the serenity of the back yard experience. Maybe you should consider living in the countryside – hopefully in an area where there is a bylaw that makes sure cows don’t moo after dark. Cars, motorcycles, residential construction, air conditioners, trampolines, airplanes, family get togethers– you name it, are noisy and what occurs in living in a city.
Simply put, no other city in North America has a ramp bylaw. Noise bylaws and other resources available to the citizens of Calgary are robust enough to restrict the issues noted in your editorial. Those same bylaws are used to make those teens you refer to, not play on their trampoline after 10:30 pm.
Based on most of the articles written by your staff, including those regarding the Edgemont Skatepark, there is clearly a negative bias to skateboarding at the Calgary Herald. It seems to be that regardless of the issue, skateboarding is the scapegoat. In one of the Herald’s opinion pieces skateboarding was compared to Chinese water torture. Studies regarding noise pollution are cited but there is no reference to studies on how today’s youth do not get as much physical activity as they should. A 2015 ParticipACTION report states that only 9% of youths aged 5 – 17 get the recommended amount of physical activity per day with skateboarding referenced in the report. For an editor of a large newspaper to weigh in and compare skate boarding to back yard chicken farming reinforces this bias. One would hope that as an editor you would have a more reasoned and fair minded approach to your comments.
There are a great deal of positive outcomes to allowing kids (and adults) to play. The City of Calgary is not only unique in having a ramp bylaw, they are very forward thinking about recreation and its benefit to Calgarians. The City’s Skateboard Amenities Strategy and the support of the City’s administration and Council of this sport and all others is tremendous. Comments like yours continue to reinforce a negative sentiment to skateboarding and are not appreciated.