CALGARY, Alberta, January 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Calgary city officials have canceled a private all-ages naked swim-and-slide party scheduled this Sunday at one of its leisure centers, citing security concerns as well as “volatile public commentary.” The decision comes after massive public backlash to the event that included a petition signed by tens of thousands.
James McLaughlin, acting director of recreation services, announced the cancellation Thursday following a review by Calgary Police Service and corporate security on the event, reported Calgary Herald.
“I can't say there was one specific threat, it was a series of things over time,” he said.
The City of Calgary stated on Thursday in a news release that it had canceled the event “due to concerns about safety and security arising from volatile public commentary.”
“Under the terms and conditions of facility rental agreements, the city reserves the right to cancel or amend permits should special circumstances arise,” the city stated.
“Unfortunately, recent events have created the potential to impact the safety of participants, public and staff, and required the cancellation of this booking,” it added.
“Volatile public commentary motivated the final decision on cancellation of nude swim,” tweeted Jill Croteau, journalist for Global Calgary.
Volatile public commentary motivated the final decision on cancellation of nude swim.
— Jill Croteau (@Jill_Croteau) January 11, 2018
Calgary Nude Recreation rented the Southland Leisure Centre for a private after-hours “Naked Water Slides and Wave Pool” event on January 14.
“This group is family oriented and kid friendly and open to people of all ages, body types, all genders, sexual orientations, and anyone else in between,” the group states.
The Dailywire.com subsequently excoriated the club for encouraging children to attend, and Calgary city hall for renting out the facility and providing staff to run the leisure center during the after-hours event.
And Canadian April Parker launched a petition to have the event canceled or changed to include adults only.
“Sexual predators will be on the prowl – having an event like that is just like Christmas to them,” Parker’s petition contended.
“Children with previous sexual abuse traumas will be heavily effected [sic] if they attend the event” and there is an “extremely high chance of photos and videos being taken without consent, considered child pornography.”
The petition went viral and has been signed by 20,800 people so far.
Meanwhile, Canadian Ben Moon’s counter-petition to “Shut Down the Petition to Shut Down the Nude Sliding Event” has 6,093 signatures to date.
Calgary Nude Recreation responded in a Facebook post that it was “outrageous that lawful recreation can be prohibited by an incredibly vocal minority” and that “cancelling the event due to outside factors is a terrible precedent to set.”
The nudist group has indicated that it might sue the city.
“As no timeline has been issued for completion of an event, full legal action will be simultaneously taken against the city to ensure future events will happen,” its Facebook statement reads.
“These people must NOT be allowed to dictate public policy with threats against law abiding citizens engaged in lawful activities.”
The Surrey Skinnydippers in British Columbia won the right to hold private nude swimming events at a public pool after a four-year court battle, according to an earlier CBC report.
Parker, however, lauded the city's decision.
“I agree that more advanced security measures should be taken in an event like this,” she said in a statement.
“I truly hope if they try to hold the event again in the future that they have a good security system in place so the privacy of everyone is ensured…once the proper safety precautions have been taken, the concern for children attending will be a lot lower.”