A group of Indigenous skateboarders who want to bring skateboard facilities to Alberta reserves is thrilled to have won its bid to purchase one of five community mobile skateparks from the city.
“We’re so excited about the potential and future of this ‘skatepark-on-wheels’ and what it will mean in reaching new youth and kids in our surrounding communities; youth who have never had access to a skatepark facility before,” Zach Creighton of Youth Outreach, which worked in partnership with Cousins Skateboard Community to secure the purchase, said in a City of Calgary release on Tuesday.
“It’s seriously a dream come true,” Creighton said.
The five skateparks went up for sale through in late October, and the Cousins Skateboard Community immediately put in a bid.
“Every reserve has skaters, but every reserve doesn’t have a park,” said C.J. Cutter, a board member from Siksika, in November. “If another reserve had stuff that were there all-year round where people can go, people can skate with them, people can teach them, the sky’s the limit on skateboarding.”
- Watch the video above to see the launch of Cousins Skateboarding Community (filmed before Alberta banned outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people)
Stephanie Won, recreation business and policy planner with the city, said it was important to Calgary to award the bids to non-profit organizations that needed them most, and would put them to good use.
“It was very important to us that the new owners were willing and able to use the equipment for wheeled sport opportunities”, Won said in the release. “We’re looking forward to these five non-profit organizations providing affordable and accessible skateboarding, cycling, inline skating and scootering opportunities within their communities.”
The city had been rotating the mobile skateboard parks throughout communities that didn’t have permanent parks, in something called the mobile skate park program. That program was cancelled in 2019.
The equipment, which can be dismantled and relocated easily, thus rendering it “mobile”, went to the applicants who fit the city’s criteria, which included social benefit, availability to a variety of users, operational and maintenance plans, programming plans, accessibility, and safety.
In the past, the Cousins Skateboard Community had been building temporary wooden ramp facilities in some communities, but as executive director Stuart Young told CBC in November, a mobile skatepark would change all that.
“You see the positive impact these wooden ramps have … and they’re deteriorating, you know?,” Young said. “If you were to compare these compared to like, take a tiny town in Alberta and theirs would be way better, right? And so if you see the positive aspects that even this brings, you know, if we can build a community where people can come together and socialize, recreation, you know all of the positive things that come, it can have a big impact.”
Mobile skateparks will also be going to Cranston Homeowners Association, Livingston Homeowners Association, Academy Skateboard Collective and Mahogany Homeowners Association.
“We really appreciate The City of Calgary putting these skateparks up for tender so that communities like ours are able to continue to provide opportunities for skateboarding, play and being active outdoors,” said Sally Lockhart, general manager of the Mahogany Homeowners Association in the release. “Not only for our community, but for the southeast quadrant of Calgary. We look forward to providing skate opportunities for beginners through to advanced users as we continue to build up the skateboarding community.”
Each organization will own, operate and maintain one mobile skatepark.