Reddy Killowatt Credit Union shines at Pearl Awards

   Two bright, airy looking businesses that have brightened a drab section of Topsail Road were among the winners at the 2015 Pearl Awards held at City Hall in Mount Pearl last week.
   Reddy Killowatt Credit Union at 885 Topsail Road was the big winner, collecting both a Pearl Award of Excellence for Urban Design and a Pearl Award of Excellence in the Green Lens category for its environmentally friendly features which include geothermal heat pumps, LED lighting, and energy efficient glazing.
   Across the street at 912 – 924 Topsail Road, the O’Neill Motors building, owned by Discovery Holdings, won an honourable mention in the Green Lens category. Built on the site of what was a derelict building, the judges noted the builder managed to utilize parts of the old structure while creating a comfortable working environment for staff using “innovative design solutions” such as LED lighting and sensors and integrated systems for disposals of wastes.
   Commonwealth Court, at 50 Commonwealth Avenue, which was extensively renovated last year, won an honourable mention for Urban Design. Its narrowed parking lot means less asphalt was needed, the judges noted, and the widened, covered sidewalks in front of the mall, with lighting on the building’s façade, encourages pedestrian activity.
   Deputy Mayor Jim Locke said the unique design of the Reddy Killowatt building “positively contributes” to the city’s landscape. “The unique building form stands out amongst other buildings along Topsail Road,” he noted. “There is excellent attention to detail in design throughout the building… The development enhances the overall visual quality of the area. The high quality of materials utilized represents a dedication to long term sustainability.”
   As part of the award, a certificate of recognition was issued to the design team behind the Reddy Killowatt building, Lat 49 Architecture Inc.
   Locke pointed out the innovative design includes an angled drive through lane, and terraced parking lots adapted to the slope behind the building. A “rip rap” basin captures run-off from the sloped roof and vegetable oil is used to run the hydraulics of the building’s elevator.
   While any individual or company can enter the Pearl Awards competition, it’s up to the various panels of judges as to whether to accord Awards of Excellence and Honourable mentions or not. But everyone who does enter is recognized for the effort that goes into making a property viable for an award. Some nine properties were evaluated in the Urban Design and Green Lens categories this year, said the City’s Director of Planning and Development, Stephen Jewczyk. The judges included Shirley Boone of the Seniors Independence Group, Lysa Ivey of the Chamber of Commerce, and Youth of the Year Noubahar Hasnain. They were assisted in their work by Richard Kenny of the Newfoundland and Labrador association of Architects, Reg Garland of the Atlantic Planners Institute and Matthew Mills of the Association of Landscape Architects.
   The Garden Awards category, which features the efforts of householders who beatify the gardens and landscapes surrounding their homes, saw three nominees: 9 Chancery Place owned by Clarence and Yvonne Tobin, 32 Hounsell Avenue, belonging to Ellen Murphy, and 13 Rideau Place, owned by Mabel O’Quinn.
   Corrina Dawe of the landscape architecture firm Tract Consulting and Dr. Norman Goodyear of MUN’s Botanical garden helped with the evaluation of the residential properties.
   Both 32 Hounsell and 13 Rideau won Honourable Mentions. The Pearl Award for Excellence in Gardens went to 9 Chancery Place. “This garden beautifully combines aesthetics with function,” said councillor Andrew Ledwell, who hosted the ceremony. “Every inch of space is attractively designed, with areas dedicated to evening entertaining or daytime relaxing.”
   The property features extensive ornamental beds of flowers and a variety of fruits and vegetables, Ledwell added.
   Randy Simms, who along with Mount Pearl North MHA Steve Kent, was a guest speaker, used the occasion to mark his last formal duty as mayor before taking a leave of absence to campaign for provincial office.
   "It was back in 2005 as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the incorporation of Mount Pearl that the City launched the Pearl Awards for urban Design," Simms said. "In 2007, the program was expanded to include local gardens. Since 2013, the City has been pleased to partner with the MUN Botanical Garden to coordinate a gardening workshop component attached to the awards, which is planned to be offered to all 2015 participants early in 2016."
The introduction of a Green Lens component last year, Simms added, is in line with the City's strategic plan for developing Mount Pearl. Simms said the Pearl Awards not only acknowledge the quality of design that exists, but “hopefully encourages even higher levels of commitment by individuals and companies to urban design, the design of gardens and to green initiatives in our city in the future."
   Kent said he looks forward to the awards every year. “When I drive around the community I’m always amazed by the effort that goes into landscaping and design of both residential and commercial properties."

Posted on November 11, 2015 .