No tax dollars yet for skate park

BrentolliesubmitionEditCalgary's Shaw Millennium Park is outdated and in need of repair, but the city has not yet approved the funds to make those fixes.

After facing more than a decade of Calgary weather and thousands of skateboards, the once great skateboard park has started to crumble, according to a consultant's report commissioned by the city and the Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts.

The 2011 report – which was written by landscape architecture firm van der Zalm and associates inc. – stated that not only did Calgary need more skateboard parks, it needed updates to its existing one.

"Despite (Shaw Millennium Park's) high profile, the skate park has exhibited some design and construction limitations over the last decade that may arguably limit its intended effectiveness in serving Calgary's skateboarding community," the report said.

"It is very apparent that the park is experiencing limitations related to the declining condition of the concrete features. This is likely a result of the facility's age and the construction technology and expertise available at the time of its creation."millennium2submissionEditShaw Millennium Park is currently not set to receive any funding from the city to repair its declining conditions.

Photo by Matt Sutton

In 2000, the City of Calgary built the 75,000 sq. ft. outdoor skateboard facility, putting Calgary on the map for skateboarders across the country.

Two years have now passed since the creation of the strategy and still no action has been taken by the city to address the declining conditions of Shaw Millennium Park — although Keith Parker from the City of Calgary parks planning and development services says that some maintenance, such as general garbage clean up and landscaping, is done regularly every year.

The park's declining condition, including exposed metal and cracked concrete, was brought up during an Oct. 9 public meeting held by the association that was attended by Hayden Kowel, sports co-ordinator with the City of Calgary's recreation department.

"We are going to do our best to try and keep up Millennium, it's still going to be the major hub for skateboard parks," Kowel said.

The association has tried to take matters into their own hands, saying the repairs are nothing that skateboarders can't take care of themselves.

"We can mobilize paint and repairs, we have people that we can get to help with cement and whatever else, that's not a problem," said Josh Etherington, a board member on the Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, according to the association, the City of Calgary will not allow them to repair city property.

Parker says that currently the plans to repair Shaw Millennium Park are listed on the city's "unfunded list," and it wasn't clear when the park would be given more priority.

"We have thought about it, and we know what we would like to do but currently there is no money allocated for it yet," Parker said.

"We have a running list of projects that we would like to see implemented and we visit that list every year, but until that project is funded or deemed no longer required then it sits on that unfunded list."

Shaw Communications, for whom the park was named after, has chosen not to comment at this time.

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