Because of Calgary’s recent budget cuts, mobile skate parks in the city will close down next month.
The parks have been rotating throughout communities for more than 20 years, turning hockey rinks into small-scale skate parks with ramps, jumps and half-pipes and featuring skating teachers and monitors. But on Sept. 5, they will no longer be offered, according to the city.
Skaters can still use Calgary’s seven permanent skate parks or other sport and recreation facilities.
Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts said it hopes to talk to city officials, but in the meantime urges skaters to get out and enjoy the parks while they can.
The group said they saw the announcement on the city’s website Thursday.
Skateboarders like CASE’s director Jeff Hanson said he understands that budget cuts are affecting every part of the city, but added that the younger generation will feel the closures the most.
“It’s a great low-barrier means of getting into skateboarding and brings skateboarding to the community,” he said Monday.
“They were extremely vital, especially getting used to the atmosphere of the skate park. That’s where you really learned that it’s not intimidating or scary or any of those things. It’s a really awesome community where everyone is cheering everyone else on.”
Erin Steel, a mom of a 10-year-old skater boy, said the decision to close the mobile parks was short-sighted and hopes it can be reversed.
“It seems likes the city is prioritizing certain sports and entertainment over others,” she said.
“I’m wondering why it’s acceptable to cut the skateboarding program that is economically accessible for kids — especially the level where they’re entering the sport — who can’t afford to play team sports.”
She praised the mobile parks for being a way to get kids active — notably, for those who might be intimidated by the bowls at full outdoor skate parks. The features at mobile parks are simpler and there is lots of space, she said.
“It gives them something to be proud of and talk about among their sporty friends,” Steel said. “But if kids don’t have access to skateparks in their neighbourhoods, they can’t try it.”