Parklet opens on Beechwood (Michelle Nash Baker, Ottawa East News)

A new attraction has popped up on Beechwood Avenue.
  
The official grand opening of the Quartier Vanier’s Water Garden a parklet in front of Auturo’s restaurant at 49 Beechwood Ave. took place on June 10.
  
The water garden is designed by Carleton University students and has a canopy that will collect water and disperse it into a self-watered planting system.

The space is open to all, said executive director of the business improvement area, Jamie Kwong.
  
This is a space that people can really enjoy, Kwong said.
  
The idea grew from a presentation Kwong saw last August, which invited communities to temporarily re-purpose on street-parking spots.
  
The city requested proposals for a pilot project last fall. Street side spots are parking spaces in front of businesses that are repurposed as either a parklet, patio or vending stall.
  
The BIA chose the parklet option and approached Carleton University’s Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism to come up with potential designs.
 
Kwong said she jumped at the idea, and quickly began looking over the criteria to find a site on one of the BIA’s three merchant streets to set up a pedestrian feature.
  
This spot fit all the criteria, Kwong said.
  
After partnering with Carleton on the project, Kwong said it was important to present any ideas to the community, and so invited residents to its annual general meeting in January. BIA members and Vanier residents chose the water garden proposal from five different options in a vote at a meeting on Jan. 21.
  
Kwong also reached out to local community groups and the area councillor, Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum, for support.
 
It looks stunning, it has come alive from design to reality, Nussbaum said. It serves as an inspiring reminder that we don’t have to aim for mediocrity.
  
Nussbaum added he will be monitoring the project closely to see how it works and whether it is worth it to continue it in the future.
  
In addition to having the self-watering system, the water garden’s canopy will provide shelter from rain and will provide somewhere for people to sit and relax, Kwong said.
  
The location was chosen as it had to be on a street with a speed limit of 50 kilometres or less and at a spot where parking was allowed at all times, so that it would not block moving traffic.
  
A bicycle lane will be directly beside the garden, with traffic flowing next to it. Kwong said safety is the number one concern and all precautions have been taken into consideration prior to building and placing the structure on the street.
  
The BIA has budgeted $20,000 for the parklet.
    
 

Source: Ottawa East News