'Social disorder' at Calgary's Crescent Heights stairs targeted by city officials

WATCH: One of Calgary's most popular outdoor places to work out is now the target of increased enforcement. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, a city councillor says “social disorder” is now plaguing the area around the Crescent Heights stairs.

The City of Calgary is cracking down on rude behaviour on Crescent Road in the city’s northwest.

People who live along Crescent Road near McHugh Bluff expressed concerns to the city about unwelcome late-night visitors, saying they have been using the area and causing a disturbance.

“There are drugs and partying and social disorder and fights and a lot of litter,” Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell said.

“This is right outside people’s homes, so it’s not OK.”

In order to get a handle on the late-night partying, four angled parking stalls on Crescent Road were changed to “No Stopping” zones between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. That didn’t seem to curb the problem, so now the city has set up barricades and shut down the stalls altogether.

The city is also taking action regarding complaints about bad behaviour on the stairs that lead down to Memorial Drive.

Residents have complained about some user groups playing loud music and taking over the stairs.

“We have a buildup of some social disorder over a significant period of time,” Farrell said. “What we are seeing is early in the morning, there are exercise groups and boot camps that are using that area–which is great; we want people to use their city and be fit. But they’re not maybe showing good neighbour responsibilities.

“It’s a popular spot and it’s a beautiful spot…so no wonder it’s attractive to people who want to appreciate the view. But social disorder doesn’t fit with that.”

The Crescent Heights Community Association is in support of the new signage that has been posted on the stairs.

“I think anything that increases education of people in multi-use areas will help,” association parks director Simonetta  Acteson said. “I think we all need to be reminded that we all use these areas and we share them and we need to share them thoughtfully.”

The stairs on McHugh Bluff are like a magnet for people who love urban outdoor workouts.

“I think it’s arguably the best place in Calgary to work out,” said Tung Bui, who has been organizing free boot camps at the stairs for eight years–without using music. He says it can get busy during prime time.

“It’s busy, but it’s such a great thing to become busier,” Bui said. “We should be proud that we have such a fit city.

“Ideally, if there were more places like this, the traffic at this current place wouldn’t be so dense.”

Stair users are now pushing for an outdoor fitness park to be built at the base of the stairs.

The Alberta Urban Athletics Association has met with the city about creating the new fitness playground.

“Working out outside is so much more invigorating than working out inside,” Bui said. “You get the fresh air, you get the vitamin D. It’s such a great idea and I really hope it comes to fruition.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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