City of Calgary seeks partnership to continue mobile skatepark program

Calgary's Community Mobile Skatepark program could make a 180, after it was put on pause this summer due to budget constraints. 

Community program was put on pause over the summer due to budgetary constraints

Donovan Armstrong watches his daughter at a Calgary mobile skatepark. The city-led program has been put on pause, but the city is seeking interested parties to use the program's equipment. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Calgary's Community Mobile Skatepark program could make a 180, after it was put on pause this summer due to budget constraints — a welcome piece of news for the city's skateboarding community.

The then city-run program started 22 years ago in 1997 but the concept has been going much longer. Between the mid-1980s and 1990, three mobile ramps operated periodically as a grassroots, community-led way to give people better access to skateboard parks before Calgary had one. 

Daniel Craig is on the board of the Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts.

"We would love for the program to continue, of course, in the way that it was, it was very well received," he said. "The communities were very receptive to the parks being there. And it was a lot of fun. And so to see them end was bad. It looks like there's some hope to restart and that's really good for us. We like that."

The city's put up a notice for agencies to express interest in buying out the skate equipment. The notice says that any interested party would be accountable to the city for a five-year period. 

Afterward, "the agency can do what they want with the equipment," according to the posting. 

Craig says it's encouraging but there are still questions. 

"Maybe they continue it on their own maybe they don't, maybe the ramps aren't any good after five years, who knows what sort of wear and tear is going to happen or how old they are now, I'm not too sure," Craig said. "There's definitely some questions after the five years, what's going to happen to the program?"

City wants ramps to stay local

CBC News was not able to connect with the city for an interview in time for publication. In an email, a city spokesperson provided some background information to clarify details of the city's request for interested vendors.

The spokesperson wrote the city wants an agency to use the skatepark materials for their original intent and will work collaboratively with successful applicants to re-create the program.

After five years, the ramps will be fully owned by that company and it can choose what to do with the materials.

The city hopes the ramps will continue to benefit Calgarians. 

Parks were pulled amid city-wide budget cuts

Every spring and summer, the city rotated several mobile skateboard parks throughout communities with little or no access to permanent parks.

Each location had staff on hand to supervise, along with scheduled lessons for little ones.

A notice was posted to the Community Mobile Skateparks webpage last summer to notify users that there was no money to continue the program, and on Sept. 5, the program ended. That page has since been taken down.

"Community mobile skateparks will no longer be offered," read the city's notice. "Skateboarding enthusiasts will still have opportunities for participation at several of our permanent skateparks located across Calgary."


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