2018 Parks Excellence Award
The Columbia River Skywalk project specifically addressed issues related to Trail's walkability and connectivity as the West and East communities are separated by the mighty Columbia River. Prior to this project, the only other means to cross the river was via the main traffic bridge's walkway, which was noted as feeling unsafe by pedestrians. The connection to other urban trail systems, the installation of onramps, and the grade and width of the bridge have ensured 100% accessibility to users of all abilities.
The Columbia River Skywalk project is built on a cycling and walking route through the community. It features LED lighting, viewpoints, park benches, and connects the two sides of the community. A favourite pastime of residents is to do the 2km "bridge to bridge" walking loop through town; this loop has proven to be a highlight for visitors to the area as well. "Making industry beautiful" is a theme that runs through our community. The Columbia River Skywalk project, named by a resident of the community, demonstrates this theme perfectly. The City turned a public utility need into a spectacular walkway.
The Skywalk provides an incredible number of direct benefits to the community and surrounding area. Social Benefits: It encourages active recreation, in particular walking and biking, throughout the community. The pedestrian bridge itself forms part of an urban trail system through the community and directly connects neighbourhoods within the community that would otherwise be divided by the Columbia River. The act of walking is well known to be associated with social participation and mental wellbeing. This amenity is barrier free and fully accessible by people of all ages and abilities.
Economic Benefits: The Columbia River Skywalk has, and will continue to have, many economic benefits. It attracts tourism to the community, draws people to the downtown core, connects both sides of the community, and it forms part of the downtown revitalization plan for the community. This project also provides opportunities for the community to grow. Projects that contribute to making a city an "active city" have been shown to lead to higher property values and increased investment. Over the past two years, the City has seen marked increases in investment in the downtown core and this could be directly attributed to this project.
Environmental Benefits: Ensuring that the risk of pollutants that could enter the Columbia River were properly contained (new sewer line) was a primary objective of this project. This was (is) an environmental responsibility that the City took very seriously. A safe option, which will reduce driving pollutants, is now available for people to walk or bike to work or visit the downtown area. The bridge is a draw for people to get outside and enjoy some of the most scenic natural surroundings. Exposure to this particular natural environment give people an appreciation for all aspects of nature, in particular, the Columbia River. Through the 2013 Parks & Recreation Master Plan people identified that this secondary crossing of the river would contribute to both their physical and mental wellbeing.
2018 Facility Excellence Award
for projects over $1 million
The City Centre Community Centre is a vibrant two-storey facility located within a mixed-use development. The LEED Gold community centre offers modern, multi-purpose spaces for a range of community recreation programs and services that are tailored to residents of all ages and abilities. The community centre also features an art studio, music rooms, social room, community living room and fitness centre.
The Centre includes state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment such as integrated touch panels, flat screen televisions, built-in projectors and screens, music recording equipment, and a listen assist and induction loop system. A portable stage, lights and sound system is available for events, youth DJ nights and talent shows, preschool dance performances and more.
According to Shannon Crofton with the Richmond Society for Community Living, "the facility has proven to be a welcoming and accessible space that is used by the people their organization supports for a variety of activities including social groups, book clubs, and discussion groups" and has provided "opportunities for artists supported by Richmond Society for Community Living to showcase their talents through an exhibit at the centre." The adapted fitness equipment in the fitness centre has also been well-utilized and a physical, mental and social benefit for many of these groups.
2018 Facility Excellence Award
for projects under $1 million
The Community Services Hub was built with inclusivity in mind, with full wheelchair access, including wheelchair accessible doors, counter, conference table, and washroom implements. It also hosts the monthly meetings of the Taylor Access and Inclusion Committee, whose aim is to improve accessibility and inclusivity for the community.
By housing the Community Services department in the same building as the Taylor Community Hall, which hosts the majority of community events and activities, the Community Services Hub has offered an innovative solution and workspace for the department that has improved resource management. The enhanced workspace allows the Community Services department room for creativity and innovation to work closely with the community and deliver a higher level of service to all stakeholders.
The Community Services Hub provides a clear point-of-contact to community groups and organizations that allows for the creation and building of important relationships as we move the community forward together.
2018 Program Excellence Award
for populations over 15,000
Pollinator Pasture is the artistic creation of a large-scale landscape and community-engaged public art project by the City of Richmond in partnership with Border Free Bees, an ambitious, creative and successful long-term pollinator-focused public art initiative headed by Dr. Cameron Cartiere, Associate Professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD). The 2.6 acre Pollinator Pasture, itself, is located at the Bridgeport Industrial Park and planted in the pattern of a bee's wings with native and naturalized seed beneficial to a broad range of pollinators. The Pollinator Pasture and supportive free programming raises awareness of the plight of wild pollinators, particularly bees, and empowers communities to actively engage in solutions for habitat loss. The initiative also transforms underutilized urban sites into aesthetically pleasing and scientifically viable pollinator pastures. The Pollinator Pasture exemplifies how harnessing the power of artistic practices can inspire community action, engagement and stewardship of pollinators in British Columbia.
The multi-layered approach to Pollinator Pasture, associated programming and community engagement has reached many hundreds of individuals and community groups (from children to seniors and businesses to non-profits). Community members have been introduced to and entranced by the work of bees and encouraged to take action on an individual level. Programs and events included the following: For All Is For Yourself: For this major gallery exhibition, Border Free Bees brought the Pollinator Pasture to the community with a community-created and installed exhibition at the Richmond Art Gallery from September 12, 2015 to January 3, 2016. Multiple events took place leading up to and during the exhibition, including papermaking workshops to create handmade paper imbedded with pollinator-friendly seed, out of which, 10,000 bee shapes were laser cut for the exhibition. During the papermaking sessions, 300+ community members were educated about the plight of wild pollinators and how they could help.
The Pollinator Pasture and related programs contribute to community social goals and quality of life through collective opportunities. Moreover, the Pollinator Pasture and community initiatives have contributed significantly to the conservation of pollinators in the community and quality of life. One of the most striking impacts has been a considerable increase in the number and type of pollinators, particularly wild bees, on the Bridgeport Industrial Park pasture site.
2018 Program Excellence Award
for populations under 15,000
The District of Kitimat, Leisure Services takes great pride in connecting the citizens of the community with opportunities to engage in a healthy, active lifestyle. The I-Can program was started when a gap in service was identified by a number of parents who have special needs children in the community. A unique partnership was formed between Kitimat Parents for Kids with Disabilities, Kitimat Community Development Centre and the Kitimat Leisure Services Department.
The programs are designed to be inclusive with peers, while offering a unique, physically challenging level of participation that the child can achieve success in while still have fun (based on FLOW theory – finding the appropriate balance of challenge and skill in an activity to make the participant successful).
The program tried to run with a 1:1 child to staff ratio. The benefits of having lower child/staff ratios are to allow the proper adaptations and accommodations to support and guide the child while encouraging independent activities as well. In general, lower child/staff ratios are one indicator of a higher-quality program as staff can be more sensitive and responsive to the individual child's needs. The ability to adapt the programming to the individual needs and level of developmental and cognitive ability of each child makes the activities more meaningful to the child and improves their quality of life both socially and physically. When these children are enrolled into the conventional recreational programs offered through Kitimat Leisure Services, they often become overwhelmed and are unable to cope in the mainstream recreational programming such as youth summer programs or swim lessons.
Kitimat Leisure Services developed the I-Can program to run parallel to the youth programming and resulted in two hybrid programs that were developed; one for swim lessons and the other for youth summer programs. The program met with so much success that more swim lessons and summer programming are underway to accommodate children with disabilities into the leisure services programming at their own pace and comfort level.