Celebrating 100 Year Old Neighbours on Neighbour Day – Water for Riley Unveils the Finalist Designs

Calgary, Alberta -  One year ago, Water for Riley announced the unique partnership among neighbours that have existed side-by-side for 100 years that had never actually done anything together until now.   Water for Riley is the brainchild of Deborah Sword, a resident of Kensington district and member of the Hillhurst-Sunnyside community.  Bringing together businesses, charities, academic institutions, The City of Calgary, The Calgary Foundation, Place2Give Foundation and local residents, the multi-phased Water for Riley project is now entering its mid-point.

A competition was held this past academic year for ACAD and SAIT students to design a public drinking fountain that is as much a functional utility as it is a piece of art.  The students’ designs have been displayed at various venues around the community including elementary schools, art galleries, and the community centre.  Last month, the 21 designs were reviewed by a jury with expertise in engineering, architecture, design and urban planning. The jury shortlisted a final three designs. Those three will be unveiled at Framed on Fifth on June 18th at 2pm.

Water For RileyThe three designs have been given to the Calgary office of international consulting firm IBI Group for technical review. Once IBI Group has delivered its recommendations, the jury will reconvene and make its final selection of the design for Riley Park. After that, construction begins!

Why is this project important for Calgarians? 

“Thousands of people visit Riley park each season leaving behind many hundreds of plastic water bottles wasted, and disposable cups littering the ground.  There currently is no drinking water in the park even though children play in the refurbished playground, families picnic on the many tables, apartment residents seek a backyard experience on the park’s open space, Calgary’s Cricket league plays on the original pitch, Foothills Orienteering Club meets there, and dog training groups practice there.  When the bandstand is built, music lovers from all over will visit,” says Deborah Sword, Volunteer Project Manager. “We estimate that a drinking fountain in an easily accessible spot for people and their pets can divert about 20% of the plastic waste that is currently left in the park’s trees and bushes.  That we are creating art as well as providing a functional and necessary service has a positive impact on property values.  As well, the student designers were given criteria such as accessibility, durability, and a green economy.  So, all the designs have multi-layered nozzles to accommodate mobility restrictions, refilling bottles, and pets.  Water for Riley is fostering an inclusive community that cares about environmental awareness.”

More importantly, as a result of this project, students who are in the Creative Economies of art, design and architecture have had the professional experience of submitting a design, presenting their project to experts, having it reviewed by professionals with comments, and, in the case of one lucky student, have their design come to life.  In a city where we have been talking about diversifying our economy, this is a bold, living example of what the Creative Economy, especially Green Innovation, embodies – multiple stakeholders coming together creating new jobs and bringing forward a functional piece of art that will serve generations.

For more information and to see the shortlisted designs please join us on Neighbour Day – June 18th, 2pm at Framed on Fifth 1207 5 Ave NW.

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Note to Editor –

About Deborah Sword

Deborah recently transformed her practice from full time Conflict Manager into full time writing about Conflict Management. Water for Riley is a second full time job as a volunteer. 

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