Kanata Skatepark Public Art Addition
During the public consultation on the Kanata Richcraft development, the OSA found out that on any major city of Ottawa project that the city works on, any public project, 10% goes to a public art budget. So, it could be a fire station, the new library, the LRT, even a skatepark! The art component can be a request for proposals, or just a request for qualifications, which can be easier, because the concepts aren’t necessary.
The Kanata Richcraft development included funds for a skateboard park, and because the project was big enough there was also a budget for a public art component. Local artists Alisdair MacRae and Negar Seyfollahy won the commission for the public art. MacRae approached the Ottawa Skateboard community and asked for their input on what the skaters would like to see most. After some back and forth between several stakeholders, skaters suggest that the best use of the additional funds would be to add more skateboard park to the design.
MacRae and Seyfollahy then worked closely with Ottawa skaters to include an additional design “sculpture” to the existing design of the skatepark. The OSA consulted with the local Kanata residents on what they thought was missing from the skateboard park and found that everyone wanted an obstacle that replicated some plaza elements. We settled on adding a granite ledge with lots of flat space – something that is often lost on large skateboard park designs.
We are so happy to have worked with the artists to enhance the functionality of the Richcraft skateboard park by using the public funds to add more skate space to the skateboard park. Our community is ever so grateful to the understanding of our culture and contributions made to the skateboard community by Alisdair MacRae and Negar Seyfollahy. A Flat and a Box and the skate plaza opened to the public in July 2014.
McNabb – Charlie Skatepark
Charlie Bowins Skateboard Park is a local landmark and a mecca for skateboarders in our city. The park is named in commemoration of Charlie Bowins who used to teach Ottawa youth to skateboard and who was instrumental in establishing the skateboarding community in Ottawa.
Charlie Bowins worked as a camp counsellor for six summers and was a skateboard instructor at McNabb Park, at Bronson and Gladstone avenues.He was also a volunteer with For Pivot’s Sake, a non-profit organization founded to support at risk youth through skateboarding.
The OSA spearheaded this project from start to finish including lobbying, grant writing, fundraising and significant influence on design.
The OSA spent the winter of 2014 working on an application for The Community Partnership Major Capital Program, a grant through the City of Ottawa that would match, dollar for dollar, what was raise for phase 2 of the McNabb Skate Park. Having to come up with $100,000 for the second phase, OSA hoped to receive the grant and lower the fundraising goal to a more realistic $50,000 with the grant’s funding covering the other half.
In early 2015, the board made their decision on the applicants. A city official got in touch to let our community know we didn’t get the grant. However, upon reviewing our application, reading the research and statistics on the positive impact this park will have, and recognizing the overwhelming support of the downtown community behind this fundraising effort, the City offered to pay the remaining amount owed for phase 2!
We at OSA are eternally grateful to every person who dropped change in a community donation jar at the many local shops and businesses who kindly host them. For every person who came out or took part in OSA fundraising events, every business who has supported us and hosted events for #1SquareFoot, and so many others who made the skate park happen.
Charlie Park Clean up
Currently the City of Ottawa budgets do not allocate any life cycle funds for skateboard park maintenance and upkeep. Our organization organizes local skateboard park “clean ups” to help tidy up our facilities and engage citizens to inform them of our cause and how they can help.
The onesquarefoot committee visits local parks with a team of volunteers and covers graffiti, cleans garbage, fixes minor cracks in the skateboard parks and does basic landscaping.
If you would like us to come out and clean up your local facility please reach out and we can work on organising a clean up at your local park.
Orleans Skatepark Consultation
Following the community consultation for the Bob MacQuarrie Skate Park (also known as the East District Skate Park) on February 18th, members of the Ottawa Skateboard Association met and discussed the proposed options. The OSA also supported the design consultation by sharing feedback forms with local skateboarders and collecting these feedback forms on behalf of skateboarders to submit to the city and the park designer.
In addition to acting as a liaison between the community and the designers, the OSA also drafted a document highlighting our proposed modifications (including illustrations) we would like to see made to the proposed designs and our reasoning behind them.
Barrhaven Skate Park
In collaboration with several local community members of Barrhaven, the OSA successfully lobbied for the installation of a permanent concrete skateboard park in the area after the prefabricated skateboard park was moved for the third time in 10 years. Barrhaven had a well loved prefabricated at the Walter Baker sports plex for many years, however the community centre needed more space for parking for other activities, and the skatepark was moved to a new development in Barrhaven. At this time, concerns about the usability and function of the skateboard park were brought to the attention of city management. The park was well used at this second location for many years. As the area surrounding the park was developed, the space was once again needed for housing and the skateboard park was moved for a third time. Without significant community involvement, the city moved the skateboard park down the road and placed the obstacles in a manner that made using many of them very challenging. In collaboration with local skateboarders, the OSA communicated the issues with the prefabricated skateboard park and city council along with councilwoman Jan Harder opted to build a permanent skate park in the core of Barrhaven.
Garden of the Provinces
The Garden of the Provinces and Territories has been the go-to staple Ottawa street spot for decades. Skaters refer to it simply as “Archives” due to the fact that it lies across the street from Library and Archives Canada. It is centrally located, with plenty of shade from numerous trees, and is rather large in size. Archives features 2 long, yet small ledges, a taller ledge and two eight sets. It also features plenty of room to hang out and play S.K.A.T.E. It’s the closest thing Ottawa has to a street plaza, but a far cry from legendary spots such as Pulaski, J-kwon, or Love.
Some would say that skating Archives is a good representation of skating in Ottawa as a whole. That is to say that it’s generally not great, but possesses a warm familiarity about it that is welcoming. Archives exists today as a relatively hassle-free skate haven, but it’s interesting to note that this didn’t simply happen on its own. Skateboarding at Archives is actually tolerated by the city in certain areas. To have achieved such a feat in a notoriously red taped city like Ottawa is intriguing to say the least.