Mystery ramp must be removed from Auburn Bay park despite community protest

No one really knows how it got there, but now City of Calgary's parks officials have found the skateboard ramp — and as skateboard season approaches it has got to go.

The tiny structure first appeared on the grass of a small park in Auburn Bay back in December. And Jenny Duffield says her kids have loved every minute of it.

In the wintertime, she said the kids were able to slide down its slope, and now that the snow is melted, it is a nightly outdoor routine for her three and six year-old boys.

The ramp is not very tall, it's not dangerous, not causing any troubles to the neighbourhood. - Jenny Duffield

"They are taking their bikes out there and rolling down the ramp on their bikes," she said. "So they're excited about their little accomplishments."

Duffield said the ramp is a place for her kids to play close to home. In the past, to get to a fun winter toboggan hill she had to pack up the car and commute.

"It's just added so much to our park," Duffield said. "It's also created a sense of community as well because more kids are at the park playing and connecting with our neighbourhood — it's more than an assembly of wood."

But the ramps were put up without permission, and city officials have given the community until Tuesday morning for whoever put up the ramp to take it down. If it isn't gone by morning, parks officials will be forced to remove it.

Carla Obuck is the vice president of the Auburn Bay community association. She says the city contacted the association this week asking if they know who put the ramp in the park.

The city gave the community association the chance to seek out its owner by posting about the structure on Twitter and Facebook in the hopes it would be taken down by whoever put it in the park.

Helen Pike/CBC

Obuck says while the community is rallying around the play place, she's not confident someone will step up to save the structures.

"I understand that a lot of kids want to have fun within the community," Obuck said. "We don't have the proper equipment for this kind of biking or skateboarding — but unfortunately this is a public park."

Obuck understands the city's concerns — if a kid gets hurt, there's no one to take responsibility. 

She says the community can apply for a mobile skate park, but that application won't bring a park to their community until next summer. The community association also has the land for a permanent skate park.

Obuck says they need volunteers to roll up their sleeves and advocate for these types of play places.

Duffield says she's sad to see the skate ramp go.

"The ramp is not very tall, it's not dangerous, not causing any troubles to the neighbourhood. It's not blocking views or anything," she said. "We're quite sad to hear they will be removing it without any good cause."

She says she trusts her kids on that ramp more than the play structure that's already in the park.