City goes on offensive to reverse damage at war memorial

CALGARY- A major effort is underway to keep skateboarders from damaging the recently-completed Poppy Plaza.

The park located along Memorial Drive at 10 Street N.W. serves as a memorial to Canada’s war veterans. It opened to the public just weeks ago, but has already been affected by skateboarders and mountain bikers using it for stunts.

Bylaw patrols are now being stepped up, with officers handing out tickets of up to $200. The city has also installed stoppers.

“Hopefully that combined with signage and bylaw enforcement will hopefully solve the problem,” says Doug Marter from city parks. “We are also putting in cameras on this site, both for this particular problem and for vandalism.”

He adds that the problem continues to cost the city financially, as well.

“We are not happy about it at all. If [the damage] continues it’s going to create a bigger problem and be much more expensive to correct.”
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Adding insult to injury, is the fact that Shaw Millenium Park—a dedicated skateboard park—is just blocks away. Skateboarders agree that no one should be riding in Poppy Plaza.

“I don’t think we really need to be skating a war memorial, it doesn’t show a lot of respect for the city,” says Andrew Lloyd. “Personally, I think [Millenium Park] is the best place to skate and progress as a skateboarder.”

It’s hoped that a new restaurant that’s set to open nearby in the fall will also act as a deterrent. The work to add stoppers and add plants to the plaza is expected to wrap up in about a week.