Urban parks, community, and water: life extenders

The continuing saga of Water for Riley (W4R)

W4R is pleased to report that Heavy Industries has now assigned a Project Manager. On November 8, 2018, Amy Ghalambor and Michelle Reid meet with W4R at the proposed installation site.

Michelle Reid, City of Calgary, and Amy Ghalambor, Heavy Industries Project Manager, meet in Riley Park to discuss logistics at the drinking fountain site.

The stamp of approval on the project’s fabrication gets closer with each meeting and discussion about design. There are still complications to work out, and Amy is committed to finding solutions.

W4R in the news

As well as the interview on Global Calgary TV, Nov. 25th, W4R volunteers appeared at City Hall Nov. 26th, to speak in support of the Parks Foundation Calgary’s funding.

Today, Nov. 27th, Audrey Neveu, CBC Vidéojournaliste / reporter, interviewed W4R volunteers.

Audrey and Gena Rotstein (Karmaandcents.com) had a great discussion about the non-profit sector, fundraising, and finding solutions to social issues.

The story will be aired sometime early in December.

Audrey toured the site where Riley Park’s drinking fountain will be installed.

People need nature and parks for many reasons

It’s been a long process since the project began in April, 2015; much longer than the volunteer committee imagined. Those five principles, articulated November 20, 2015, remind us why the drinking fountain is such a priority. The vision still inspires W4R volunteers.

One of W4R’s five principles is health, as evidenced in new research published in Lancet Planet Health 2017; 1: e289–97, Urban greenness and mortality in Canada’s largest cities: a national cohort study, by Dan L Crouse, et al.

… as the amount of greenery increased, people’s risk of premature death decreased by eight to 12 per cent.

… exposure to and interactions with green spaces are associated with improved psychological wellbeing and have cognitive, physiological, and social benefits…

Be part of Calgary’s public art legacy;
for Riley Park, for you, and for the future.

Donate to make this vision become reality. At the instructions to seller page, specify that your support is for The Water for Riley Project. The Parks Foundation issues tax receipts for donations greater than $10.00.

We invite everyone to participate as a volunteer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.

Riley Park drinking fountain: real & local

The drinking fountain is a local product

Calgary is known for its talents, resilience, and entrepreneurship. The funding, and the expertise that designed, guided, managed, created, planned, and is fabricating the drinking fountain are local.

That means the money is raised and spent in the community. When the installed drinking fountain is celebrated, Calgary, especially the Parks Department, can take a lot of credit.

The drinking fountain is a real product

Water for Riley has made progress after months of effort. The fabricators (Heavy Industries), mechanical engineers installing the plumbing (TLJ), civil engineers (IBI Group,Calgary office), the City of Calgary (Parks Department) and the student designer, have met to check plans, go over designs, solve issues, and review the Risk Assessments.

The teams are coordinating

The experts agreed on many of the details and tasks to be completed:

  • The risk assessment concluded that the depth of the petal relief held the potential for fountain users to get heads or limbs stuck. The artist agreed that the profile of the flower petals be smoothed out as a solution. Also, a brushed finish for the stainless-steel components will reduce the likelihood of reflections.
  • TLJ has presented a mechanical engineering proposal for Heavy Industries to review.
  • TLJ is putting together a preliminary mechanical design and hardware list of the internal components for the drinking fountain.
  • IBI will review the project with City Parks-Water Management Division to confirm the service location in Riley Park, and then IBI will prepare a site servicing plan.

Heavy Industries is working to revise and develop the design and pricing, and will soon provide Water for Riley with a solid plan, budget, and schedule for moving forward!

The funders made it possible

W4R has received community support in various amounts from individuals and donations in kind. As well, generous Calgary Foundation and Government of Alberta grants and a large donation from NWHP REIT, made it possible for W4R to pay for all that’s been achieved.

Tracy Hume and Terry Schmitt
Many thanks to Tracy Hume and Terry Schmidt, who championed the donation from their NWHP REIT Calgary office.

All funds are administered at Parks Foundation Calgary, which is W4R’s fiscal agent.

Heartfelt gratitude to the wonderful Water for Riley team of specialists and donors.

Be part of Calgary’s public art legacy;
for Riley Park, for you, and for the future.

Donate to make this vision become reality. At the instructions to seller page, specify that your support is for The Water for Riley Project. The Parks Foundation issues tax receipts for donations greater than $10.00.

We invite everyone to participate as a volunteer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.

Opinion of the design

Community engagement is part of Water for Riley (W4R)

W4R encourages community input. This comment came through this site’s contact page, as well as The Parks Foundation Facebook page. W4R shares it in hopes you will join the discussion.

What do you see in the drinking fountain design, “Reflecting Blooms?

The writer, Dave, raised two main concerns, and gave a compliment:

  1. The drinking fountain design. The city is experiencing an opiate crisis and you are putting a fountain that resembles opium poppy heads in a family friendly park?  Beyond the fact it may trigger addicts, it is terrible metaprograming for the kids. I object to a design that references opiates.

W4R replies: We should all be concerned about opiates. However, not all flowers with petals are opium producing poppies. There are over 50 varieties of poppies, according to https://www.britannica.com/plant/poppy, many looking little like the fountain design aside from having petals.

Nor was opiate-bearing poppy in the mind of the student designer. In her description of the design, she stated she took her inspiration from the floral beauty of the park flower beds, and opiate poppies aren’t planted there, so her design’s intention doesn’t reference opiates.

  1. Shading from the sun. This is the problem with the existing fountain, the water is warm because it is often in direct sunlight.

W4R repliesThe City of Calgary decided on the site for the drinking fountain in Riley Park. The City of Calgary has to connect the fountain to a water line that already exists. Also, the drinking fountain should be accessible to the open areas and playground and the new bandstand for the health of the children and music lovers. Fortunately, lovely mature trees shade the site selected.

And now, Dave’s compliment: I love the idea of fountains in parks. Thank you for this initiative, this is a great opportunity to add value to the community through functional art, just please be mindful of the subconscious message it conveys.

W4R replies: Thank you, Dave, for the insightful comments. We hope this addresses your concern, and are glad you like the idea of a drinking fountain in the park, especially where no potable water source currently exists.

Be part of Calgary’s public art legacy;
for Riley Park, for you, and for the future.

Donate to make this vision become reality. At the instructions to seller page, specify that your support is for The Water for Riley Project. The Parks Foundation issues tax receipts for donations greater than $10.00.

We invite everyone to participate as a volunteer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.

A standard contract in non-standard parts

Like NAFTA negotiations, Water for Riley (W4R) is a tri-party contracting effort, which was supposed to be fast and simple, until complications happened.

The unexpected complications

The standard contract that Heavy Industries (HI) usually signs with its clients just didn’t apply to this project. Because W4R is unique, three of the contract clauses needed revisions.

Fortunately, W4R’s amazing partners at the City of Calgary Parks Department and HI understood the issues that W4R had with the contract and worked hard to make the necessary changes. Back to the NAFTA metaphor, we parsed legal language from October, 2017, to July, 2018.

W4R is an ad hoc group of volunteers

W4R owns nothing and has accomplished much. W4R exists to:

The solution in two parts

HI and the City of Calgary really came through for us.

First, HI revised some clauses in the contract. HI is a world-class company, whose clients include well-known artists, municipalities, and corporations although it has never before worked with The City of Calgary as a client. Yet, HI gives our small, local drinking fountain the same consideration, attention, and time it does to its multi-million dollar international projects.

Second, HI and the City of Calgary agreed to (a) split HI’s standard contract into two phases with known start and end dates; and (b) HI will sign the City of Calgary’s standard documentation for any work it undertakes for the City of Calgary.

The first phase contract, which W4R signed, starts now. It ends when the drinking fountain is fabricated, in a crate, and loaded on the truck on HI property, before the loaded truck’s wheels roll.

The contract was signed 9 July, 2018, setting the stage for HI to begin its work.

The second phase contract, which HI and the City of Calgary will sign, starts when the loaded truck’s wheels roll. Phase two covers installing the drinking fountain in Riley Park.

Water for Riley is incredibly grateful for this flexibility in the standard practices of both HI and the City of Calgary.

Be part of Calgary’s public art legacy;
for Riley Park, for you, and for the future.

Donate to make this vision become reality. At the instructions to seller page, specify that your support is for The Water for Riley Project. The Parks Foundation issues tax receipts for donations greater than $10.00.

We invite everyone to participate as a volunteer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.

See the W4R story in ACAD’s video

ACAD’s creative W4R story

ACAD captures W4R in video

W4R followed its own unique structure and process. ACAD’s Director, Marketing & Communications, Marion Garden, thought W4R had a great story. She found the right, amazing people to tell it.

W4R’s story is now online

Kenzie Webber

Kenzie WebberACAD‘s talented Digital Content Coordinator,  shaped the story of how W4R brought institutions together, engaged community, and gave students a real-world, client experience.

At several stages, ACAD videographers filmed W4R’s special events. Kenzie features that ACAD footage and this blog’s images in the short video.

Steven Hodges, ACAD‘s Community Engagement Strategist, liaised with W4R volunteers during the editing process.

Please share the link to the video about W4R’s story https://youtu.be/1ZKjAIab3Bs

Be part of Calgary’s public art legacy;
for Riley Park, for you, and for the future.

Donate to make this vision become reality. At the instructions to seller page, specify that your support is for Water for Riley project. The Parks Foundation issues tax receipts for donations greater than $10.00.

We invite everyone to participate as a volunteer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.

 

 

Calgary winter, 2017-style

The holiday season is here

This is the winter scene that greeted Trail on his morning walk in Riley Park. (Not that there is much winter this December, 2017, as seen in the green background of the +15C record warm temperature.)

Trail’s BFF Jake and he appreciate the holiday greeting from Anonymous Santa

To whoever took the time to make beautiful Riley Park
more festive with big bows this winter, thank you.

 

Season’s greetings and thank you from Water for Riley

Year’s end is a nostalgic time, and Water for Riley isn’t immune from the sentiment. 2017 marked some successes, some set-backs and lots of steps forward we’re proud to share. This year-end is a chance for huge thanks to all who made the drinking fountain in Riley Park manageable and close to reality.

Public art became a contentious issue in Calgary, with pushback from taxpayers and residents about the quality of art installations in public spaces. Water for Riley followed the debate with interest since the drinking fountain will be public art as well as a functional fountain. Water for Riley adhered to a different process than the Public Art Program. All 21 drinking fountain designs were displayed throughout the community in many venues, comments collected, and a professional jury of local residents specifically chosen for their expert credentials and their expertise in the neighbourhood. The transparent process resulted in a design that most residents accept.

Throughout the year’s many meetings, displays, marathon document writing sessions, and fundraising efforts, the organizing committee received and greatly appreciates the excellent guidance and advice from: IBI Group, Ron Buchan and Michelle Reid of City of Calgary Parks Department, The Calgary Foundation, The Parks Foundation of Calgary, Gena Rotstein of Place2Give Foundation, Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, Framed on Fifth, Sunnyside Natural Market, Nulli Identity Management, and Heavy Industries, Sally Truss, Michelle Vincent, Kerry Harmer, ACAD’s Marion Garden, among others. They worked hard to ensure the volunteers managing this grassroots project stayed on track.

To all donors, supporters, partners and friends, very warm greetings for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018, from the volunteers of Water for Riley. See you in person, this summer, at the opening celebration of the drinking fountain in Riley Park.

If you donate to Water for Riley, you will receive a tax receipt from The Parks Foundation Calgary.

 

Bow to Bluff, an ecosystem approach to nature

Riley Park is part of an ecosystem

In our mostly paved, urban landscape, it’s easy to forget the role of ecosystems in keeping us healthy. In nature, nothing exists in isolation. The health of one part of the ecosystem affects the health of all. On May 27, 2017, you can be part of an historic effort to pull fragmented pieces of land into a more useable, healthy space.

Bow to Bluff has an ecosystem perspective

Citizens saw an opportunity to transform fragmented bits of land leftover from Ctrain construction. The Ctrain tracks disrupt the McHugh Bluff, and chop up 9A Street N.W. streetscapes between SAIT/ACAD/Jubilee Station to Sunnyside Station, and to the Bow River. The citizens’ vision is to turn those neglected parcels and current back alley trails into a walkable, terrific public space.

Leftover bits of 9A St.N.W. after Ctrain construction can be usable public space.

The City of Calgary began working with the citizen group on the Bow (River) to (McHugh) Bluff initiative. Where now are tiny, weed and garbage-filled bits of land, imagine wondrous public spaces from the river, across Memorial Drive, past the Ctrain station, along the elevated tracks, to the top of the bluff.

Join us. Water for Riley will be there.

27 May, 2017, enjoy Kensington, Riley Park, and launch Bow to Bluff.

Water for Riley sits at the base of the McHugh Bluff. The Bow to Bluff initiative will help restore natural health to the ecosystem in which Riley Park is nestled.

Water for Riley works with Parks Foundation Calgary (parksfdn.com) and issues tax receipts for all donations over $10.00. Call 403 862 1923 for more information

 

Continuity and change

Water for Riley (W4R) has many moving pieces

How W4R works partly explains our successes so far. A few members of the organizing committee have been involved from the start. Other people have contributed skill and time as tasks required. W4R has been blessed with the right people offering the right skills at the right time.

On 27 April 2017, Jen Dobbin of The Dobbin Group met with Michelle Vincent and Natalie Back, stalwart W4R volunteers.

The Snowball Methodology

The method is called the Snowball. Like a small ball of snow rolling downhill that collects more snow as it gathers speed, we collect and network with people as we move forward. One person leads to more people. At every meeting W4R volunteers ask, for example:
who else should we talk to?
what contacts do you have that might introduce us?
when can we meet with those others?
where should we go for those connections?

We have a core committee that holds the vision and provides continuity. Fresh ideas and energy come from a cast of changing volunteers who share the vision and offer their time as they have some available.

Community minded people share contacts

Michelle and Annie MacInnis, Executive Director of Kensington Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ), met to discuss mutual interests on 10 May, 2017.

We’re very grateful for these cross-fertilizing, idea-sharing meetings. It’s like shortcuts on a long journey; we learn from their wisdom and experience so we don’t have to build a road they’ve already walked.

 You can join the snowball effect, even in Springtime

Follow this Water for Riley blog and on Twitter @waterforriley.

Please contribute to Riley Park’s beautiful drinking fountain project through the Parks Foundation and – at the instructions to seller page – specify that your contribution is for Water for Riley.

To volunteer call 403 862 1923.

 

W4R publicity and information sheet

Water for Riley moves into the spotlight

At three evening events in April, 2017, W4R is getting known beyond the local community. In preparation for the publicity, Michelle Vincent, Lead Volunteer, created this one page information sheet.

Thanks Michelle. W4R is ready for that close-up now.

Follow this Water for Riley blog and on Twitter @waterforriley for updates.

Please contribute to Riley Park’s beautiful drinking fountain project through the Parks Foundation and – at the instructions to seller page – specify that your contribution is for Water for Riley.

To volunteer call 403 862 1923.

Nature’s own water in Riley Park

Water for Riley couldn’t resist posting pictures of the swamp that is Riley Park in Calgary’s lovely springtime. This is not the water source that Water for Riley had in mind for drinking.

Ah, spring thaw in Riley Park, March 25, 2017, get your raft and hip waders.

However, it’s great for kids in gumboots taking a very long time getting to Hillhurst School through the puddles, and for ducks, who were seen swimming on the cricket pitch. It’s also adding a layer of silt to the undersides of dogs.

Short legs + spring thaw = one muddy dog.

Families are just so happy to see spring, they’re happily sloshing through the muck to the playground.

Sun’s out and so are the Riley Park fans.

Help bring actual drinking water to Riley Park. Donate through the Parks Foundation, and designate your contribution to Water for Riley project.

Call 403 862 1923 to volunteer with the other fun people who are making it possible to plant Reflective Blooms in our lovely Riley Park.