Mayor Jim Watson and Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Chris Binkowski, Christina Johnson and Kenzie McCurdy from StopGap Ottawa at City Council today, in recognition of their efforts to make Ottawa more accessible.
Started in 2015, StopGap Ottawa helps make businesses more accessible by building ramps for their entrances. Members Chris Binkowski, Christina Johnson and Kenzie McCurdy and others, frustrated by the inaccessibility of many local businesses, found the perfect solution to bridge the gap between the sidewalk and the step to enter an establishment: they would build custom colourful wooden ramps and make businesses more accessible and open.
Their first community building project was at Somerset Square. With the help of volunteers, StopGap Ottawa built eight ramps in one night. In partnership with the Ottawa Tool Library, they have built many more ramps over the past several years. They receive regular requests for ramps from local businesses and they are committed to creating a city where every person can access every space.
The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour, created to recognize an individual, group or organization that, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.
Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.
The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.