Thursday, February 09, 2012

Update -- Ashbridges Bay Skate Park response

Ward 32 Councillor McMahon:
Apparently paying attention
I received, in response to my recent letter to Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon (regarding the diversion of Section 37 funds from Phase 2 of the Ashbridges Bay Skate Park), the following communiqué, which presumably went out to every skater who took the time to contact her.

It’s good to know that some Councillors are ostensibly listening:

Beach Skateboard Park Update from Councillor McMahon
Feb 9, 2012   

This week Councillor McMahon met with community stakeholders and has come up with an alternative plan to get the Beach Skateboard Park bowl built. She met with representatives from the community, skateboard enthusiasts and city staff and been thoroughly impressed with everyone’s commitment to this local park and facility.

“The project was always approved, we just had to ensure that the financing responsibilities were shared as widely as possible,” explained Councillor McMahon. 

“Balancing the requests and demands of other local residents who are facing disruptions caused by the TTC Ashbridges Bay storage yard construction project is never easy. I am happy to say that we’ve found some new sources of support that will allow us to divert some of the TTC monies to other local community benefits.  The construction tender should be ready to go out in the next few weeks.”

The bowl represents the completion of the skate park project that has been ten years in the making. “Nobody questions the importance of this facility to the community and how it lives up to our shared priorities of youth recreation, connected communities, vibrant park spaces and stewardship,” she stated.

“Anytime I’ve been by this skate park there are people using it. It’s taken an underutilized corner of the park and made it a hub of activity. Local parents and youth organize events, paint murals and even do the maintenance and clean-up of the skate park. This is the type of stewardship and engagement I support and encourage in all our parks, with groups like Friends of Moncur Park, the Icemasters,  and others,” says Councillor McMahon.

“I’m looking forward to spending time at the skatepark to meet some of these local park champions soon.”

Updates as available will be posted on Councillor McMahon’s website.


For now, I am willing to accept this as a sincere acknowledgement from Councillor McMahon of the importance of the skate park to the local community.

Of course the devil is in the details, and like many as-yet-unbuilt city projects, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” (meaning Phase 2) There remain key unresolved questions:
  • What were those new sources of support, and what were the amounts involved?
  • Will the change in funding impact the design or the timeline for construction of Phase 2?
We’ll see what happens. This appears to be a positive step forward for the park and a good example of citizen activism, as I know many people got in touch with the Councillor. In particular, Nicky Young and Dave Buchanan deserve credit for taking action and making sure this issue got visibility. Steve Jarrett has long been the park’s key local proponent.

I must also grudgingly give the Councillor some credit for a quick response during a time period where the attention of most of Council has (understandably) been on the transit file...

Skate on!

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

See also (other skate related articles)...
Is Skateboarding Illegal in Toronto?
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

Additional reading (external commentary)...
The Town Crier’s article on what happened...
Spacing Wire’s summary (in which my letter is quoted)