The wheels will come off Calgary’s Community Mobile Skateparks as they are set to close Sept. 5 this year.
The city-run program posted a notice on their webpage pointing to budget cuts as the main reason the mobile skateparks will no longer be offered. In late July, city council approved $60 million in budget cuts.
“I was surprised and disappointed,” said Jeff Hanson with the Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts (CASE).
“The program has been running at least in some capacity since the late 90s. So it’s essentially been going on for 20 years and over that time they’ve been continuing to grow.”
Throughout the warmer months the City of Calgary set up roving mobile skate parks in different communities around the city. The free parks were open to people of all ages to go skateboarding, inline skating or ride scooters. Each park featured rails, quarter and half pipes and wall rides.
The City says there are seven permanent skate parks and spots where skaters can go instead. But Hanson said the mobile skateparks were useful in helping the city determine where future skateparks were needed.
He adds the pop up parks were key in fostering new and young skaters.
“Where the major loss is, is for all the communities that don’t have permanent skateparks. Having an opportunity locally for people to be able to try something new or continue working on something they discovered last summer was great.”
Future of mobile skateparks program unclear
It’s unclear if the program will be shut down just for this year or permanently – or what will be done with the park equipment. Hanson said they’re looking to meet with the city to discuss what can be done.
“Skateboarding makes public spaces more interesting, but it takes everyone understanding that they’re not there to cause damage and disruption,” said Hanson.
“They’re there to enjoy a space just as anyone else; it just so happens that the way they do that is a little different.”