Sunday, February 05, 2012

Letter to Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon: Why Jeopardize the Ashbridges Bay Skate Park?

Councillor McMahon,

On January 31, 2012 -- at your request -- the Toronto Transit Commission voted to divert a previously-secured $300,000 funding arrangement intended for use in completion of Phase 2 of the Ashbridges Bay Skate Park.

I wish to express my unequivocal concern regarding this turn of events. This unprompted, unplanned diversion of funds jeopardizes the successful completion of the skate park, and should be reconsidered. 

The Ashbridges Bay Skate Park is a signature Toronto Parks and Recreation project, and has been well over eight years in the making. It has involved extensive community consultation, planning, outreach and communication.

Many members of the skateboard community are shocked and upset by your actions on this matter. They view this outcome as a betrayal of their ongoing good-faith participation in the lengthy municipal process of building this park.

Diverting the funds at this late stage should be a City Council decision to make -- especially considering the large sum of money involved. This funding was originally secured in relation to a new TTC storage and maintenance facility, at Leslie Street and Lakeshore Boulevard. Everything was approved in December 2009, by the TTC Commission and the Toronto City Council budget process.

I realize that the Ashbridges Bay Skate Park was previously championed by your predecessor, and that because of your significant differences in opinion regarding municipal policies and approach, you may be predisposed to question particular projects or initiatives undertaken in your ward.

I appreciate and understand this. However, I urge you -- in the strongest possible terms -- to recognize the greater benefit to the community represented by this skate park.

The Phase 2 design for the park incorporates a world-class kidney bowl. When constructed, this feature will draw international skaters, their families, and locals alike -- to visit and enjoy the attractions of Beaches-East York.

Toronto deserves a world-class skate park. We asked for it. We demanded it. We worked diligently through all of the proper channels, in partnership with all of the many stakeholders -- to get this project underway, to have shovels in the ground.

After years of campaigning, the city finally built Phase 1 -- and now we’re ready for Phase 2. The park has already been the host to nearly every major skate demonstration and contest in Toronto, as well as playing the host to several highly successful summer camp programs for children.

It is the most-highly used skate park in the city.  

Ashbridges Bay Skate Park is more than just a recreational facility. It is a gathering place. It is a spot where lifelong friendships are made. It is a model for successful community infrastructure and investment.

On Friday February 10, there will be a rally at City Hall regarding this project. I invite you to attend, and to learn more about this project and its importance.

Councillor McMahon, although I am exceptionally disappointed by the recent turn of events, I am confident that when you ultimately consult the community, you will discover that support for this project is very strong indeed.

I trust you will act accordingly, and work to restore funding for Phase 2 of the Ashbridges Bay Skate Park.


Nathan Ng


Sent to:
Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West, Suite B28
Toronto, ON  M5H 2N2

His Worship Rob Ford
Mayor, City of Toronto
100 Queen St. W.
City Hall, Second floor, West
Toronto, ON  M5H 2N2

Ulli S. Watkiss
City Clerk
Toronto City Hall
100 Queen Street West, 13th floor W
Toronto, ON  M5H 2N2


UPDATE -- February 9
See Councillor McMahon’s response here.

Ashbridges Bay Skate Park
City Hall Rally Feb 10!
Fellow skaters: make sure your voice is heard!

Get in touch with Councillor McMahon, and respectfully communicate why Phase 2 of the Ashbridges Bay Skate Park needs to be completed.

Contact information for Toronto City Council can be found here.

A rally in support of the completion of Phase 2 is slated for February 10 at 1pm, at City Hall. More information can be found here.

Also: read this Beaches Metro article about the redirection.

Lastly: This Feb 24, 2012 Spacing article quotes me and references this blog post, in describing skater reaction to events.

See Also...
• Speed! Thrills! Women! FUBU Skate Race Recap
• Aftermath - 2011 Toronto Board Meeting
• The rise of Patrick Switzer, Downhill Skateboarder
• Our first longboarding tragedy
Grappling with another longboarding death

Past letters to government officials...
• A Pratfall of Monumental Indiscretion
• Please reconsider the proposed service cut to TTC Route 101 - Downsview Park