IT’S DONE!

Four years over schedule, 100% over budget and we can’t drink from it until the COVID 19 pandemic is over.

Who says irony is dead?

On this blog site, Water for Riley documented every step, every meeting, every success, every partner and donor, every ‘I wish I’d never started this project’ moment.

Here is the last step of the fabrication stage, and, many times, I thought we’d never reach a point where that sentence is true:

Duncan from Landform started with mud in the rain
The construction site needed levelling
Landform scheduled the sod laying to take advantage of the rain
By afternoon, the sod was down and Trail had done the inspection.
The fence will stay for two weeks to give the sod time to connect with the site
The dog bowl is a little tall for a Westie, so he’ll need human help to drink.
Trail also inspected the paw pedal that will allow dogs to help themselves, if they are tall enough
When it is again safe to touch a surface that others touched, thirsty park visitors will approach the drinking fountain to enjoy clean delicious mountain water.

Water for Riley will post news of the drinking fountain water turning on whenever The City of Calgary deems it safe. We dream …

Until then, Team Water for Riley is alive and planning the celebration.

There are so many people to thank, a whole community of effort, a collection of industry experts, generous donors, and a City of helpful public employees who made this possible. I am so grateful to these donors and partners:

Everyone in these companies was invaluable in this project’s success.
In difficult economic times, please support those who support our community.

Over the five years of the project, many people volunteered time. As well as HSCA staff, especially Lisa Chong, and the members of the HSCA Planning Committee to whom Water for Riley reported, these community members volunteered their time on the planning committee:

Gena Rotstein, Natalie Bach, Jocelyn Kabatoff, Michelle Vincent, Sally Truss, Fong Ku, Lorna Cordeiro, and Diana Macdonald. I hope anyone I’ve forgotten will forgive me.

Three people kept me inspired when I almost gave up: Ron Buchan and Michelle Reid, The City of Calgary Parks Department, and Decker Butzner. And, of course, the inspiration for the project, Trail the opinionated Westie.

Now, over to Maddie Wong Selby and the events committee, it is your time to party like it’s 2019.

Gratefully, signing off for now,

Deborah Sword


Be part of Calgary’s public art legacy;

for Riley Park, for you, and for the future.

See our story in a video http://www.waterforriley.org/2018/07/acad-w4r-video/

Penultimate step

Water for Riley’s multi-year saga has always had two completion dates.

  1. Installation of the fabricated design.
  2. The celebration of the project, which would officially open the drinking fountain and end Water for Riley.
In March, 2019, we presented this high level schedule to donors

The first milestone is almost behind us.

A yellow outline marks the shape of the rubber surface for the installers to follow.
GPI, masters of play at work
Preparing the material to apply on site
The rubber got a short ride from the truck to the site
The surface is the same as under the playground.
And then it was done.
Someday soon, the playground and drinking fountain will be open.
Well, that opening might be soonish.

The last step of the installation milestone is to remediate the site.

The first step of the celebration milestone will be announced soon.

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

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 http://www.waterforriley.org/2018/07/acad-w4r-video/

Drinking fountain proceeding

The installation team is ready to start

The celebration of the project is postponed. The project isn’t.

Whew.

Continual snowfall, even into mid-April, and warm sun created pools of snowmelt near the children’s playground. Despite Riley Park looking like a swamp, Landform will begin preparing the site next week.

Taking care of you

Landform must comply with COVID 19 protocols. The construction will be easy to walk around and watch from a safe physical distance.

In our team meeting today, The City of Calgary Water Services staff confirmed that parks drinking fountains won’t be turned on until Public Health officials declare the COVID 19 crisis ended.

Functional to follow in the future

Ever since this project began as a grassroots, volunteer driven effort, we’ve described it as an artistic functional drinking fountain. Until it’s safe to touch shared facilities again, the drinking fountain will be only artistic.

We look forward to a morale boosting celebration when we can again gather in beautiful Riley Park.

Until then, Water for Riley wishes everyone good health.

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 our story in a video http://www.waterforriley.org/2018/07/acad-w4r-video/

Drinking fountain celebration: 4 big updates

1. Some activities now booked for 13 June, 2020.

After a short official opening just before noon on Saturday, 13 June, we plan an afternoon of live music, cricket demonstrations, tour of the historic cricket league clubhouse, the story of the land and Riley Park with Harry the Historian, cake, and more excitement that is still to be confirmed.

The historic cricket league clubhouse, 1908

2. Gio spreading the word about the event.

We are fortunate to have a new volunteer on the planning committee. Giovanni (Gio) is a Mount Royal U marketing student, who works in Kensington and loves Riley Park. Gio will take the lead on social media, publicity and marketing for the drinking fountain grand opening. We are so grateful to him for stepping forward to help, and delighted to work with him. Please help him spread the word about the celebration on 13 June, in Riley Park.

Gio is the marketing lead for the grand opening celebration

3. A grant for talent and expenses of the event.

The contribution The City has already made to our successful completion of this project can’t be overstated. From the start, the staff at Parks, Water Services, Arts Development and councillor’s offices have been helpful, encouraging and supportive.

Now, The City is giving financial support as well. We are very grateful to The City of Calgary for a Ward Community Event Fund (WCEF) grant for the event.

“The Ward Community Event Fund (WCEF) assists community associations or community-based groups hosting events or undertaking initiatives to enhance their community.”

4. Volunteer event planner needed.

If you are able to volunteer to lead a wonderful group of local residents planning this event, or know someone with time and skills, please get in touch.


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 our story in a video http://www.waterforriley.org/2018/07/acad-w4r-video/

Drinking fountain celebration update

The drinking fountain is built, factory tested and in crates until the ground thaws in Riley Park. The City of Calgary Parks Department approved installation for Spring, 2020. The last task for the volunteer committee is to plan the grand opening celebration.

The event planning committee drafted a budget for the event. Coincidentally, Mirza Amiri, Kensington Branch Manager of TD Canada Trust, approached the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association for opportunities to partner on local projects. It was a perfect match.

On January 27, 2020, Water for Riley volunteers met Mirza at the local TD Bank branch, and shared plans for Water for Riley’s grand opening, scheduled for June 13, 2020, in Riley Park. Mirza wanted TD to be involved and even offered to set up a fun colouring wall for kids and families, with TD staff volunteering on the day .

The TD Monster Mural travels to outdoor spaces

As always, Water for Riley anticipates zero administration expenses thanks to the volunteers and local businesses that donate supplies for the grand opening. We are grateful to our newest donor and good neighbours, Mirza and the staff at the local TD Kensington N.W. Branch. We updated our acknowledgement page to add the TD green shield.

Water for Riley is pleased to add the TD Bank shield to our list of proud 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.

See our story in a video http://www.waterforriley.org/2018/07/acad-w4r-video/

Water for Riley 2.0

Since 2015, Water for Riley has proudly used the unique name, logo, and brand that our generous elf Diana Thompson gifted to us.

The drinking fountain is built, and its new water line awaits. Installation is scheduled for this spring as soon as the ground of Riley Park thaws and the site prepared. We decided the logo should reflect the progress to this last, final and concluding stage -can you tell we are excited about the project ending?

The logo 2.0

To acknowledge these accomplishments, we asked the drinking fountain’s designer, AUArts student Michelle Lazo, to refresh the logo. We wanted to incorporate her design. We hope you like the new logo as much as we do.

Save the date please

bands, history of Riley Park, cricket demonstrations and water features

Planning the party

January 20, 2020, the team met in the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association. Six months from now, we will have a terrific celebration of this entirely local, volunteer driven, community based drinking fountain.

Come for the music, bring a picnic, enjoy Riley Park and admire the drinking fountain.

Rachelle (NWHP REIT) Rachel and Lorna (community volunteers) and Stephanie (HSCA) are the steering committee for the event planning.

Area of greatest need

There is much to do in planning the celebration. The area that most needs willing volunteers is social media and publicity. If you have time and an interest in marketing/social media/publicity/promotion etc, please call 403 862 1923.

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 our story in a video http://www.waterforriley.org/2018/07/acad-w4r-video/

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’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 our story in a video http://www.waterforriley.org/2018/07/acad-w4r-video/

Major donation a lifeline

In November, 2018, we posted that the engineers were designing the foundation in which the drinking fountain blooms would sit. When the design went to several companies for an estimate to construct that foundation, no one expected a quote of $40,000.00.

Only two options presented. Quit, walk away and forego all the costs and effort expended so far, or raise another $40,000.00.

The volunteers and The City of Calgary staff seriously considered both options. Water for Riley volunteers decided to try additional fundraising first. Foremost on our minds was the extraordinary generosity of all the wonderful donors so far. We didn’t want to let them down when they’d offered such unconditional financial and other supports.

We met with Srimal Ranasinghe of Hive Developments on March 19, 2019. He took our proposal to Hive Development’s client, Spray Group.

Water for Riley volunteer, Jocelyn Kabatoff, met with Srimal at a local coffee shop on 10 Street, N.W. to propose that Spray Group donate $40,000.00.

Spray Group didn’t delay accepting the proposal, subject to one condition. The cheque would be delayed until its development project, Victoria on the Park, received City approval.

To everyone’s relief, the apartment development application was approved, and Spray Group, through Hive Development, delivered the cheque on August 16, 2019, in Riley Park.

Loudres Juan, Director of Hive Developments, presents Jocelyn with Spray Group’s cheque, so Water for Riley can complete the drinking fountain in Riley Park project.

Jocelyn, indefatigable volunteer, writes:

This week the Water for Riley team received a cheque for $40,000 from the Spray Group of companies. This represents the final fund-raising hurdle to bring the Reflecting Blooms design to Riley Park.

Fabrication of the design is about to begin and we will have an estimate for installation and, of course, a grand reveal party at Riley Park soon.

We’re delighted that so many community members have stepped forward to support the vision of this project. Thank you to Lourdes Juan for championing the project, and Jake, for representing doggo who will use the fountain.

Lourdes presents the cheque to Jake the Labradoodle, who declares it ‘delicious.’

To recognize this important and timely donation, Water for Riley updated its acknowledgement page.

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.Paragraph

See our story in a video http://www.waterforriley.org/2018/07/acad-w4r-video/

Installation phase 1: completed

Notice of project start
After months of negotiation and clarification, the design details are almost finalized.

Riley Park made ready for its drinking fountain

Early November, 2018, the Water for Riley team faced unexpected issues. The experts tell us that issues during construction projects shouldn’t be unexpected, so let’s go with that wisdom. Since November, those wonderful experts have worked hard to find solutions.

The City of Calgary Parks Department had enough faith in those solutions that we met on site to plot the water line location. On Monday, 3 June, 2019, City staff, Heavy Industries’ Project Manager and Water for Riley met on site, looking at plans and maps.

To be ready for the drinking fountain’s installation, City staff were scheduled to dig and install the water line that will hook up to the three stems of Reflecting Blooms.

City staff on location in Riley Park
Deborah of City of Calgary Water Management, Lori from Heavy Industries and City staff Kody, Mark and Aneta plot the location of the waterline that will run from 12th Street NW to the drinking fountain.
June 3, 2019 meeting on site
Lori, Deborah, Kody and Aneta examine the map with topographic and service features. It helped us look for any underground utilities. Kody sprayed the purple mark on the grass to align with the box that will house the water cutoff device.

Decision on Monday, water line on Tuesday

On Tuesday, 4 June, 2019, the crew showed up with equipment, and Michelle from Parks Department matched the location and the digging to the plans.

From 12 Street NW, the water line entered Riley Park at the north gate, went east to avoid damaging trees, and headed south to the future location of the drinking fountain
In half a day, with minimal disruption to Riley Park and its visitors, City staff installed the water line and the shutoff valve. Once the drinking fountain is fabricated and installed, the hookup is easy.
The crew left the site with barely a trace of having dug a water line there. Trail, the inspiration for the drinking fountain project, inspected the location and was satisfied.
4 June, City staff can't wait for the drinking fountain
Water for Riley: a drinking fountain in Riley Park so disposable water bottles aren’t needed. Perhaps this is the last time staff will have to drink from plastic bottles that are used once and discarded?

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 our story in a video http://www.waterforriley.org/2018/07/acad-w4r-video/

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.