News / Calgary

Update: Calgary nudist group threatens legal action after city cancels swim

Petition with several thousand names was against the Southland Leisure Centre private event

The City of Calgary won't allow a naked, family-friendly private swim event to go ahead at a public swim facility, they said Thursday.

Last week, Metro was first to report Calgary Nude Recreation's plans to hold the family-friendly nude swim at Southland Leisure Centre on Jan. 14.

Shortly after, a petition was launched in opposition to the event, garnering 20,539 electronic signatures via change.org, as of 10:54 a.m. Thursday. Another petition surfaced opposing the original petition.

The City said Thursday that due to safety and security concerns due to volatile public commentary they would be cancelling the event. They cited no one specific threat, but "a series of different things that occurred over time related to public discourse on this event," said James McLaughlin, acting director of Calgary Recreation.

“Safety and security are always our primary concern. Under the Terms and Conditions of facility rental agreements, The City reserves the right to cancel or amend permits should special circumstances arise. Unfortunately, recent events have created the potential to impact the safety of participants, public and staff, and required the cancellation of this booking."

In a Facebook post following the announcement, Calgary Nude Recreation says '"full legal action will be simultaneously taken" as a result of the decision.

"The city of Calgary has cancelled all permits for all events citing OUTSIDE factors, not associated with the event itself. Safety concerns were cited in regards to participants, staff, and other users of the facility," the group's Facebook post read.  ​

"It is outrageous that lawful recreation can be prohibited by an incredibly vocal minority. These people must NOT be allowed to dictate public policy with threats against law abiding citizens engaged in lawful activities."

The group said refunds would be issued in the next day.

"We believe cancelling the event due to outside factors is a terrible precedent to set and we will move to a schedule another event as soon as possible," the post read.

Coun. Jeromy Farkas, who had questions about the event involving youth said it's important these groups have personnel who are vetted to make it clear there is no danger to young people.

"If it was 18 plus and they wanted to start a dialogue I would have been happy to actually go to this event and participate in the nude. Sometimes showing leadership is showing all," Farkas said.  

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