Calgary

Edgemont skatepark plan sparks rebellion against community association

A flyer circulated in the northwest community of Edgemont is calling on those opposed to a planned skateboard park in the neighbourhood to elect new board members to the community association at the annual general meeting later this month.

Residents asked to attend annual general meeting and vote for new board members

Plans for a skateboard park in Edgemont have caused quite a stir in the community. (CBC)

Some residents in the community of Edgemont have started a campaign to change the community association in protest over a planned skateboard park in the neighbourhood. 

The group circulated a flyer to local residents on Thursday. It asks people to buy a membership, attend the AGM on April 29 and elect new directors to the board of the Edgemont community association.

Barry Slusarchuk says he is part of the group of concerned citizens that has been meeting for the past four months to research the issue of skate parks.

He says the community association failed to consult people living close to the site before it submitted the application to the city. He says the site does not meet the guidelines for skateboard parks as set out by the the Tony Hawk foundation and www.skatepark.org.

The Edgemont skate park has already been put on hold for three to nine months, due to concerns expressed about noise and safety at the proposed site in John Laurie Park.

Some residents of Edgemont who opposed the plan to build a skateboard park in John Laurie Park have convinced the city to reconsider the location. (Google Maps )

Slusarchuk said his group of 20 people is not opposed to a skateboard park in the community, just the current site.

"We are completely in favour of skateboard parks, it's a matter of location, location, location."

He also denies his group is targeting sitting members of the board, saying there are vacancies and they hope to play a "constructive role." However, the flyer does point out that some board members have served more than five years and reads "it's time for a change."

Consultation concerns

Elspeth Kirk, communications director for the Edgemont community association, denies there was a lack of consultation about the skateboard park. 

"We had many articles in our newspaper and we have had at least two public forums," she said. "It wasn't our fault they didn't take note of that."

She says the the board welcomes the involvement of all community members in the association and on the board.

"That's what democracy's all about, isn't it?" she said. "That's one way to get people involved in the community."

However, Kirk warns that the community association cannot focus exclusively on the single issue of the skateboard park. 

"We have all sorts of projects and issues that we hope don't fall by the wayside because of this one focus."

Suburban skateboard parks needed, says city

Three other skateboard facilities that were announced by the city last year are going ahead. They will be built in the communities of Chinook Park/Kelvin Grove/Eagle Ridge (CKE), Huntington Hills and Southwood.

The city plans to build five other skate parks in the future as part of its Skateboard Amenities Strategy.

Calgary already has one of the largest free outdoor skate parks in North America — the 75,000 square-feet Shaw Millennium Skate Park at the western edge of downtown.

"We have to be able to get these facilities out into the communities that aren't downtown," said Greg Dycke, superintendent of sport development with the city's recreation department.

"Kids are going to skateboard, regardless. So why not provide those facilities for them so they can skateboard in a proper, safe and family friendly environment."

About 35,000 people skateboard at least once a year in Calgary, according to city officials.

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