Airdrie mom raises concerns about safety at Chinook Winds Park
By: Matt Durnan
| Posted: Thursday, May 01, 2014 10:28 am
At least one Airdrie mother doesn’t feel safe letting her child use Chinook Winds Skatepark on her own.
The park located in Airdrie’s southwest can be an unwelcoming environment for adults and children, according to Monique Beeson, who has been living in Airdrie for the past two years.
“I roller skate at the skatepark with my eight-year-old daughter and last year I was always picking up beer cans and there were people hanging out there smoking and loitering,” said Beeson. “I’m fairly tolerant and I understand that teenagers want a place to hang out, but four or five older people hanging out in a group can be pretty daunting to the people who want to use the park.”
Beeson says that she would never let her daughter go to the park by herself and is thankful that she can be present when her daughter wants to use the skatepark.
“If I couldn’t skate and use the park with my daughter, I’d be pretty wary of letting her go there,” she said. “The skatepark can be dangerous on its own with the drop offs and banks, but when you have beer cans and other obstacles, it’s very unsafe.”
Airdrie Parks Department Team Leader Archie Lang is cognizant of the activities that happen in parks, especially around this time of year.
“We understand that nefarious activity can happen in parks, especially when school is out,” said Lang.
“Bylaw enforcement officers can lay charges because our parks do have set open hours from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and if anyone is loitering in the parks outside of those hours they can be charged.”
Lang says that Chinook Winds Park can be more susceptible to objectionable behaviour like drinking in public or loitering because of its location in a developing area of the city.
“In our other parks, the residential areas are bumping right up against them, so we have more residents who can keep an eye on things and phone us when they see something they don’t like,” said Lang.
“Chinook Winds Park is still out in the country basically and there’s nothing but field to the west so the people hanging out there might feel like they’re not going to be seen. I’m sure that when that area is more built up, you’ll see less of these issues.”
Airdrie RCMP Community Liaison Officer Cst. Jason Curtis echoed some of Lang’s comments, though he said he hasn’t heard any specific complaints about the park yet this year.
“Because Chinook Winds is an isolated area, people do tend to congregate there and it is one of the areas that the RCMP targets with our patrols,” said Curtis.
“So far I haven’t heard of any specific incidents but as the weather warms up and people are hanging out outside it’s something that we are keeping an eye on. If any residents see something that they don’t like they can give us a call.”
Airdrie RCMP non-emergency phone number is 403-945-7200.