You asked … about skateboarders

18 Jul

a-skateboarder-jumpingA community member asks, “I’ve heard that damage has been done to Berczy Park by skateboarders. What is being done to resolve this problem?”

We answer: There have been incidents in which a few skateboarders have aggressively jumped and ‘grinded’ across various park features, causing visible damage. Park visitors also witnessed boarders jumping off the new cast metal dog sculptures, causing damage. These boarders refused to stop when challenged by members of the public. Although most boarders have stopped their actions when challenged by park–users, a small group of boards have behaved defiantly and with apparent intention to cause damage. Fortunately, there have not been reports of this activity in recent weeks.

What is being done?

  • The City has installed ‘no skateboarding’ by-law signage in the park and added various protective ‘skatestoppers’, ‘knobs’ and guards on park stages and the fountain edge to discourage skateboarding.
  • More preventative skatestoppers have been ordered, including ‘speed bumps’ to protect the dog sculptures located outside the fountain rim.
  • The Police and City By-law enforcement officers have been asked to patrol the park more frequently to prevent harmful behaviour by any park visitor, including persons who litter, don’t poop & scoop or leash their dogs, and skateboarders.
  • And, the City will repair the damage done to the dog sculptures and other park features.
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New anti-skateboarding ‘knobs’ added to Berczy platforms.

Naturally, these measures won’t completely eliminate the issue, since skateboarders will continue to ‘discover’ the park and, as mentioned, a few aggressive boarders may ignore the rules from time to time.

So, what can you do?

  1. If you see skateboarders, first, observe their behaviour. Don’t over-react if they are not actually causing damage or interfering with others’ use of the park.
  2. If you do see them doing harm or impacting others, you may try speaking politely with them. Explain how their actions are harmful and ask them to stop. Most boarders will honour your request.
  3. If they won’t respect your request, you should call the 51 Division Police Non-emergency number (416-808-2222) to report the activity and ask for officers to be dispatched. You may take smartphone photos of the boarders from a safe distance, to discourage their action or to serve as evidence for the police. Do not escalate the situation or put yourself in harm’s way.
  4. 10950667_834855399885956_6523870176803578015_nAnd, help develop longer-term solutions: Keep in mind that part of the problem is a lack of approved areas for skateboarders to practice their sport in the City. If skateboarders have appealing, authorized places to gather, they will be less likely to appear in our park. For this reason, Friends of Berczy Park has been in discussion with the Toronto Skateboarding Committee, (on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/torontoskateboarding/) a 13418960_1103847939653366_8528812750073098110_ngroup that is working with various City councillors and Parks’ Dept officials to find solutions, including the creation of dedicated skate parks, improvements to current ones, or the addition of appropriate skateboard features in existing public spaces. We believe it is important to work constructively to find solutions for everyone, including skateboarders, rather than attempting to simply banish a group from the park. Read the Toronto Skateboarding Committee materials and write/email to your City councillor to urge them to focus on developing positive solutions to this issue.
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6 Responses to “You asked … about skateboarders”

  1. Norma Davis July 18, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    Thank you for all you are doing. I visited Grange park yesterday and saw the enjoyment both dog owners and dogs got from the unleashed area at that park. Granted it is a much larger area. I watch the park from my condo unit and see that very few dogs are using the gravel area at Berczy. I believe if the gravel was fenced and dogs could be unleashed there would be far greater use. Can you explain why this was not an option? Thank you again for your commitment to our new and beautiful park Norma

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Friends of Berczy Park Working Group July 18, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

      Hi Norma, yes Grange Park is lovely, but considerably larger. In the case of Berczy Park, the City stated that our park was too small to meet their size requirements for a fenced dog park. The designer’s compromise was to create the mural garden, a shared/multi-purpose space that would serve both on-leash pets and people who wanted to appreciate the Flatiron Bldg mural. That was the philosophy for all areas of the re-designed park – that each space should be useable by more than one stakeholder group to provide more flexibility. Hopefully the City will create fenced off-leash pet areas in other new parks planned in the area. Although pets and their owners do enjoy the grassy areas in Berczy, we are definitely noticing more pet-owners using the gravel mural garden, in part thanks to our series of Friends of Berczy Park Pet-Lovers events in that space to educate pet-owners about it’s purpose. Also, signage will soon be installed to clearly explain that the mural garden is designed for pet use. Stay tuned!

  2. Alba July 18, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

    I’d like to know when those ugly fencing things will be removed. It looks absolutely ridiculous.

  3. Friends of Berczy Park Working Group July 18, 2017 at 8:22 pm #

    Hi Alba, we agree that the fencing is not attractive. Unfortunately it takes the City a while to implement facility improvements and we have to wait patiently in the meantime. Hopefully the skateblocker features mentioned above will be installed soon on the stages so the fences can come down.

  4. Julie Rose July 24, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

    Why not fence the whole park off from the public so that it may remain in pristine condition FOREVER?? Part of what makes Berczy such an amazing park is that it is designed so that even if it gets nicked and bruised, it is still a beautiful public space. Even were someone to steal the golden bone from the top of the fountain, the space would still be one of the most beautiful in the city. But you know what does ruin the aesthetic of the space? These fences! It’s been months since the park has opened and there is no sign that the fences will come down anytime soon. There are already ‘knobs’ on the surfaces – so what’s the wait? I beg the city to stop treating us all like criminals. Please, take down the fences now! Let the skateboarders skate! Thank you for letting me rant about this. I live in the area and while I adore the park, I am filled with frustration every time I enter the space because of these fences.

    • Friends of Berczy Park Working Group July 25, 2017 at 6:18 am #

      Thanks for your heartfelt comment – We understand your frustration.

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