Daily Xtra recently sat down with Carling Miller (Kind’s executive director) and Catherine Macnab (Planned Parenthood Ottawa’s executive director) to talk about their new joint centre in downtown Ottawa.
One of the first things Miller and Macnab said about their new digs is that they hope people don’t have trouble finding it.
Although the building is centrally located on Somerset St West in between Elgin and Metcalfe streets, Macnab jokes the lettering of “222” looks more like three sailboats than numbers. You’ll know you’re there when you see the unique row of 2s and, once inside, you’ll see Planned Parenthood and Kind are listed in the lobby’s directory. The elevator will take you up to the fourth floor.
There’s a central business area of the office, which Macnab says will have about six work stations that Kind and PPO will share. There are two private counselling rooms, which both organizations will use. Miller and Macnab also each have their own office.
“We’ve got a kitchen because of course food is always important for doing programming,” Macnab says.
There’s a large room that hasn’t been named yet, but it’s one of the most important spaces for Kind because it’s where most of Kind’s programs will take place in the evening, Miller says.
“We’ve done something different and incorporated our library into the space so the books get used and taken out and read and loved, but also we get this cosy, comfortable place to hang out,” she adds.
Macnab is hopeful the meeting room will eventually become a draw for the whole community. “This space is a work in progress, but ultimately we want this to feel like a lounge or a rec room with lots of youth programming in here,” she says. “We’re also hoping our whole community sees this as a resource for holding community meetings. We see lots of potential to turn this into a full community space.”
There isn’t a washroom inside the centre, but having an accessible, gender-neutral washroom on their floor was a priority for Kind as well as PPO.
“The building made the decision to put that on our floor as an accommodation for us because it was something that was important for both organizations,” Miller says. “They really were open and receptive to that even though there were plumbing issues with the installation that they troubleshooted and went ahead.”