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OSA Skateboard Infrastructure Strategy

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The City of Ottawa, referred to as “the City,” currently boasts 18 free outdoor skateboard parks catering to residents in Kanata, Stittsville, Gloucester, Centertown, Conroy, Goulbourn, Orleans, Barrhaven, and Nepean. These parks vary in size and design, with the majority featuring prefabricated, modular wood/metal ramps set on an asphalt pad. Notably, only five of Ottawa’s skateboard parks are purpose-built by professional designers and builders.

Over the past few years, the Ottawa Skateboard Association (OSA) has collaborated with the skateboard community and the City to influence the design of new skateboard parks. The OSA firmly advocates for transitioning from an ad-hoc design and consultation method to a long-term, professionally developed skateboard park strategy. This strategy should encompass community-level development and introduce a city-wide implementation plan. The OSA believes that, with a relatively modest investment in planning and consultation compared to overall project costs, both the City and end users will benefit from high-quality, well-utilized skateboard parks befitting the Nation’s Capital. However, users of Ottawa’s skateboard parks express dissatisfaction with the current design and direction, feeling their concerns are disregarded.

To address this issue, the OSA recommends involving relevant and experienced design professionals, including landscape architects, planners, skateboarders, and community organizations, in developing a new Ottawa Skateboard Park Strategy, aligning with the City’s 2021 Parks and Recreation Master Plan. This strategy should prioritize users’ needs based on the recommendations and research outlined in this document, as well as input from direct users and community groups.

The following recommendations are detailed in this report:

  1. Solicit and develop a professional planning strategy, using this document as an anchor.
  2. Perform a City-wide Gap Analysis.
  3. Adopt robust site selection criteria, including thematic design considerations.
  4. Modify public consultation methods.
  5. Set aside funding for Life-Cycle considerations.
  6. Partner with community organizations.
  7. Increase the diversity of design professionals.

Our team believes that this document provides the City with an outline of an approach for Ottawa to become a champion of skateboarding in Canada and develop a network of parks benefiting the National Capital Region. This document outlines recommendations for developing a long-term skateboard park strategy for the skateboarders of Ottawa.

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As another resource, the skateboard park project, has a great document on skateboard park standards that can be found here.

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Ottawa Skateboarding Association