Support Yellow Bike Action in the Pandemic: Space, Water, and a Washroom

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Dear Kingston/Katarokwi friends and neighbours,

Yellow Bike Action, a not-for-profit Kingston staple, needs more space to physically distance and access to a washroom and running water to sanitize. They’re asking for the community’s support in appealing to the City of Kingston to provide these basic necessities.

Founded in 2000, Yellow Bike Action was created to provide safe use of bicycles as an affordable, viable and sustainable means of transportation, physical activity, community engagement, and healthy recreational activity. For 20 years, the organization’s volunteers have salvaged and repaired bicycles, taught workshops in bike repair for youth and adults, and offered access to affordable tools, parts, and education about bicycle repair and maintenance. Yellow Bike Action partners with, serves, and is involved with many community organizations, including OPIRG Kingston, KFHC, The Wally Elmer Youth Center, The Boys and Girls Club, The Rotary Club, The John Howard Society, The Elisabeth Fry Society, and Cycle Kingston.

They’re now faced with the challenge of how to continue to serve the community with insufficient space and access to basic amenities. To make room for the Covid-19 Assessment Centre, Yellow Bike Action was forced out of the Memorial Centre, where the organization has existed for the last seven years. It is now operating in one of the barns with no running water, very little space, and without a bathroom. Experienced volunteers are doing their best to meet the community’s needs, which have grown with the pandemic as people struggle to find healthy and safe ways to physically engage themselves and their families. However, with so little space and without access to basic amenities, volunteers are unable to sufficiently support the community, many of whom are lower income, students, newcomers, and people who have been laid off or are on  involuntary furlough because of the pandemic.

Yellow Bike Action isn’t asking for much but have met resistance from some City staff. In order to support the Kingston community, Yellow Bike Action needs:  

1.       More space. There are three barns on the Memorial Centre grounds and much of it is unused. Yellow Bike Action is currently confined to one-third of one barn, with a zamboni recently added to their barn. 50 more feet would allow volunteers to better organize their tools, parts and recycling and would provide safer conditions for volunteers and community members.

2.       Water. There are taps. The water to those taps needs to be turned on.

3.       A washroom. One porta-potty, and its upkeep would be sufficient.

Please help Yellow Bike Action put pressure on the City of Kingston to meet these very basic needs. Tell the mayor, city councilors, and the department of Recreation Facilities that they need to live up to their espoused commitments to the environment and active transportation (e.g. Kingston’s Strategic Priorities (2019-2022) and the City’s climate emergency declaration) and promote affordable, community-based cycling supports in Kingston (see #CycleON’s Cycling Strategy and Action Plan).

We, the undersigned, urge the City of Kingston to provide the basic needs of adequate space, washroom facilities and running water to Yellow Bike Action.