The final phase: celebration delayed not done for

Save the date: 24 October, 2020 on Kensington Road

Water for Riley raised money dedicated to celebrating the successful completion of the drinking fountain in Riley Park. Enter COVID-19 and brilliant plans to celebrate big in the park got cancelled.

The three donors supporting the celebration with generous grants kindly allowed us to keep the money until we can again gather in small groups. We thank them so much for believing in Water for Riley and in community that needs a morale boost.

Maddie Wong Selby, Water for Riley volunteer, accepts the cheque from MIrza Amiri, Manager of TD Bank, Kensington Branch.

We adapted to hold smaller events, like yoga in the park. Coming up, Water for Riley collaborates with Kensington Village, the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, and NorthWest Healthcare Properties at a street market on Kensington Road, just south of Riley Park. We can’t confirm the date until the last minute because COVID-19 changes and we might have to adapt yet again.

Maddie Wong Selby designed this invitation and
drew the wonderful graphic of Reflecting Blooms, the drinking fountain in Riley Park

As soon as we know if it can go ahead, we’ll let you know.

The Water for Riley volunteer team sends Thanksgiving and good health wishes.

The good, the bad, and the lessons

Water for Riley’s previous post shared news of an exciting donation from Spray Group that rescued the project. As did, by the way, every donation that kept the project alive these past years. How did it happen that such a large amount was needed so urgently at the last minute?

Ever wonder how major infrastructure projects, like building ships and bridges, exceed estimated costs? That’s with experts doing the estimating, procurement, project managing, and fabrication. So, Water for Riley’s part-time volunteers feel slightly less forlorn.

Three last minute issues surprised the volunteers and experts on team Water for Riley.

Foundation and drainage: A criteria for the drinking fountain was wheelchair accessibility. A concrete foundation couldn’t be guaranteed because water from the drinking fountain would freeze and thaw in Calgary’s weather. The City of Calgary wouldn’t approve a foundation that didn’t have a warranty.

To overcoming the warranty issue, the engineers suggested a different foundation entirely, which was less expensive, warranted, and better. Enter Landform Inc.

The new idea for the drinking fountain foundation is to match the rubber-like surface of the nearby playground.

Landform needed a lot more detail, such as types and sizes of hardware, depth of pilings, and materials that Water for Riley had never heard of before. Emails whipped back and forth for weeks, pinning down how much and what size of all manner of topics. Each step needed consultation among Heavy Industries, The City, Landform, and the project’s engineers, IBI Group. For the first time, the costs got specific.

Then it got interesting.

Prime Contractor: Since 2015, everyone on the project agreed that Heavy Industries would act as project Contractor. Despite Heavy’s worldwide scope, international reputation, and local headquarters in Calgary, it had never before had The City of Calgary as a client. While Water for Riley was a wonderful opportunity to build that relationship, Heavy isn’t one of The City of Calgary’s pre-approved contractors. To gain that approval is a lot of paperwork and time. Better, the team decided, to switch to Landform as Prime Contractor and Heavy as a subcontractor.

Then it got legal.

Contract: Heavy and The City of Calgary Legal Department had gone back and forth in iterations of a contract for months. With Landform assuming Prime Contractor status, that shifted. The contract among Landform, The City of Calgary, and Water for Riley is currently under review with the City Solicitor. Hopefully, it is approved and obtains an authorizing signature soon.

Meanwhile, The City laid the water line, Heavy ordered the materials for fabrication, Landform expects to lay the foundation in September, and we have sights set on completion soon after that. Never for sure though, as Water for Riley volunteers learned. Infrastructure projects, it appears, come with surprises. When the contract is signed, it will include payment milestones and construction schedule, so we’ll know better.

Then it gets celebratory.

Water for Riley has notified its major funder, Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT, that we expect to have an opening celebration within the next two to three months. We can’t wait.

Trail, who inspired the project, wants to be the first dog to drink from the pet height fountain

Be part of Calgary‚Äôs 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 our story in a video