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Double dribble: Calgary to examine on-street basketball bylaw change

Calgary’s looking into the sweet spot for less-mobile sports apparatus after a recent neighbourhood incident left on-street basketball hoop use up in the air.

Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra raised the issue of a recent situation in Bridgeland where community advocate Ali McMillan posted to Twitter that she received an official notice to remove a basketball hoop, or it would face impoundment.

“It’s wrong that ONE grouchy neighbour who lives 5 houses away from this can 311 this hoop and the 8 plus neighbourhood kids who use it each day lose an activity,” McMillan posted on Twitter at the time.

The issue was brought up at city council on Monday.

“The general concept that dictates our approach is play, but put your toys away when you’re done,” Carra said during question period at Monday’s combined meeting of council.

“But questions have been raised as whether this is the right approach with basketball specifically given the less mobile nature of a safely-erected hoop and backboard. I’m wondering if there are any simple changes we could make to the current bylaw to facilitate basketball on city owned spaces such as road right of ways.”

Potential basketball bylaw?

General Manager Katie Black of the City of Calgary’s Community Services, said they’re always looking to find the balance between a safe city and a vibrant and active one.

She said in this particular case, the city was using its bylaw discretion to ensure that the basketball didn’t pose any potential safety hazards with it being a potential street obstruction.

“We are looking into a bylaw provision that could allow less mobile material such as basketball hoops to stay on the street,” Black said.

“And it’s possible, but it’s tricky because, of course, you get into the zone of exceptions and it becomes harder to be clear about that.”

Black did say in the interim that there are 5,200 parks, 350 schools and 50 community associations that do have similar amenities where citizens can participate in these activities.