January 11, 2018 2:46 pm
Updated: January 12, 2018 2:37 pm

Naked swim event at Southland Leisure Centre cancelled by City of Calgary

WATCH: A controversial event that motivated thousands of Calgarians to react has hit another nerve. A naked swim at a city pool has been cancelled because of ongoing public discourse. Jill Croteau reports.

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The City of Calgary has cancelled a contentious naked swim event set to be held at the Southland Leisure Centre later this month.

The private, after-hours and all-ages event from Calgary Nude Recreation was scheduled for Jan. 14 and was described by a Facebook event page as a “naked water slides and wave pool night.”

After the event began receiving criticism online, even sparking a petition asking for it to be cancelled, the City of Calgary announced last week it would be reviewing it to ensure the privacy and security of participants could be maintained.

READ MORE: City to review Calgary naked swim event after petition started

On Thursday, the City of Calgary announced it had cancelled the event “due to concerns about safety and security arising from volatile public commentary.”

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“Under the terms and conditions of facility rental agreements, the city reserves the right to cancel or amend permits should special circumstances arise,” acting director of Calgary Recreation James McLaughlin said in a news release.

“Unfortunately, recent events have created the potential to impact the safety of participants, public and staff, and required the cancellation of this booking.”

Calgary police said officers responded to a threat at the Southland Leisure Centre on Monday.

“District officers responded at the time of the incident and determined there was no immediate danger,” police said in a Thursday release.

READ MORE: Calgary nudist group vows naked swim will go ahead despite backlash, review

The Calgary Police Service (CPS) also said it was consulted by the city’s corporate security in relation to security concerns surrounding the event. They provided a final risk assessment and the decision to cancel the event was eventually made by Calgary Recreation.

“As is standard procedure, any threats reported to police will be investigated,” CPS said.

The city said the organizer has been made aware of the cancellation.

No decision has been made about future bookings and Calgary Recreation said it will work with Calgary Nude Recreation on any potential future bookings.

In a statement posted to the Calgary Nude Recreation Facebook page, the group said it is “outrageous that lawful recreation can be prohibited by an incredibly vocal minority.”

“These people must not be allowed to dictate public policy with threats against law-abiding citizens engaged in lawful activities.”

The group said it recognizes that the city is “not the bad guy here.”

“Calgary Nude Recreation would like to make it clear that the city staff at the pool and elsewhere have been amazing to work with.”

Despite this, the group said, as no timeline has been issued for completion of an event, “full legal action will be simultaneously taken against the city to ensure future events will happen.”

“Calgary Nude Recreation’s new mission is to establish a legal clothing-optional stretch of river within reasonable distance of the city core for people to participate in legal recreation.”

“This cancellation of all permits will not make nude activity in Calgary go away, but rather ensure that more people have access to public nude recreation.”

Refunds for the sold-out event will be issued “sometime in the next day,” according to the group.

“We believe cancelling the event due to outside factors is a terrible precedent to set and we will move to a schedule another event as soon as possible.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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