Canadian Forces investigates supply chain to trace stolen uniforms
The Canadian military is investigating how uniforms and equipment intended for wear only by members of the Canadian Forces was sold on the Internet. The camouflage uniforms were in the Canadian Disruptive Pattern (CADPAT) and each piece is identified with its own unique serial number. It is illegal for non-military personnel to wear the distinctive uniform and illegal for soldiers to sell the uniforms. The sale raises a security issue. For example, in Afghanistan unauthorized people – even terrorists – could represent themselves as Canadian soldiers by wearing the distinctive and readily identifiable uniform and obtain access to otherwise secure locations and facilities.
Alberta’s Climate Change Central supports solar energy project in Okotoks
In late March, Alberta Environment provided $500,000 to Climate Change Central to support the Drake Landing Solar Community in Okotoks, which will use groundbreaking solar technology to help save money on energy bills.
According to the news release, “the 52-homes in the Drake Landing Solar Community will be heated using innovative technology that harnesses solar energy to supply 90 percent of its heating requirements. Energy consumption will be reduced by 30 percent, and 260 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year will be eliminated.” The technology is the first in North America with the potential for use in both the residential and industrial sectors.
Climate Change Central (C3) is a unique non-profit public-private partnership that builds relationships between businesses, governments and other stakeholders in Alberta interested in designing innovative solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The board of directors includes leaders from major industry sectors, non-governmental organizations, secondary institutions, municipalities and the Government of Alberta. C3 also administers other programs such as:
- The Fleet Challenge program has been designed to support continuous improvement in the financial and environmental performance of vehicle fleets.
- ME first! - a four-year, $100 million interest-free loan program designed to help Alberta municipalities achieve energy savings; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and replace conventional energy sources with renewable or alternative sources. Applications are available at www.climatechangecentral.com/mefirst.
Ottawa approves recreation facility P3
In mid March, and upon the completion of a competitive bidding process, Ottawa City Council chose Capital Sports Management Inc. (CSMI) as the private-sector partner to design, build and operate the new community complex at the Kinburn District Client Service Centre site located in West Carleton. The existing facilities will be enhanced and new additions will include a paramedic post, to open in the fall of 2006, an indoor NHL-sized ice pad, which should be in use in December 2006, an outdoor mini soccer field and the associated dressing rooms and concessions. Plans include the capacity to add a second NHL-sized ice pad when required.
Built as public-private partnership (P3), this state-of-the-art facility will serve as a community hub and ensure that the city obtains excellent value for money. According to the news release “under the terms of the deal, the city will continue to own the facilities while CSMI will operate and maintain the public areas of the complex. The city will invest $8.2M in the facilities, buy and resell 800 hours of ice time to users at current city rates, pay an annual operating fee to CSMI and cover any annual operating shortfalls. CSMI will maximize revenue opportunities through programming and selling the remaining ice hours, leasing the commercial space in the Client Service Centre, and selling advertising and sponsorship at the arena. The agreement is for a 20-year term.”
Procurement conference: Global Revolution III
The University of Nottingham and the George Washington University Law School are sponsoring the third in a series of conferences on public procurement issues. Themes include regulating electronic procurement including e-auctions; addressing corruption and conflicts of interest; social and sustainable procurement, tied aid, harmonization and procurement reform. This conference (www.global-revolution.com) will be held in Nottingham, UK, on June 19th and 20th 2006.
VANOC seeks companies to produce 2010 licensed apparel
The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), established on September 30, 2003, is mandated to support and promote the development of sport in Canada by planning, organizing, financing and staging the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Launching the next phase of its Official Licensing Program in late March, VANOC (www.vancouver2010.com) is encouraging interested parties with operations in Canada that can design, manufacture and distribute a full range of 2010 Games-related apparel to respond to VANOC’s call for Expressions of Interest (EOI).
VANOC will pre-qualify applicants based on their EOI responses and invite pre-qualified businesses to submit apparel licensing proposals in the subsequent Request for Proposals (RFP) process. VANOC will select one or more licensees to produce a variety of clothing for all ages that will be available across Canada at approved retail outlets, including souvenir and sporting goods stores.
Full details about the Official Apparel EOI process, deadline and notification process are available at www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca/open.dll/welcome.
Construction contract awarded to build Oyster Pond Academy
Oyster Pond Academy, located on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia will be built by Maxim Construction Inc., of Dartmouth. The winning bid was $10,347,000. The new school will house about 650 students from primary to grade nine. According to the news release “it will have several special features, including an energy efficient design and a composite rubber floor in the gymnasium that absorbs impact and reduces the potential for injury. The school was designed by Harvey and MacKenzie Architects of Halifax.” Construction should begin this spring, to be ready in September 2007. Site preparation and foundation work, contracted to Dexter Construction last fall, has been completed.
BC invests in Kamloops airport expansion
The Kamloops Airport Authority Society has big plans for the Kamloops Airport – plans that include extending the runway to 8,000 feet and upgrading the navigation aids, lighting and terminal facilities supporting airport traffic growth. This will allow the airport to accommodate non-stop air service from central Canada and elsewhere. In late March the airport authority received a $4 million commitment from the Province of BC, representing approximately a quarter of the total project cost.
The funding was good news for the local partnership, which includes Kamloops Airport, the City of Kamloops, Sun Peaks Resort and the tourism industry, that is actively promoting new air service development for the region and making presentations to several prospective air carriers.
Williams Lake, BC tests camera to fight crime
Following a presentation by Q-Star Technology Canada at a council meeting in mid-March, the City of Williams Lake, BC installed a security camera, on a trial basis of three to four weeks, in the downtown area. The solar-powered steel and lexan encased camera unit is installed out of reach and when activated by motion “the camera uses a strong flash to take a photo of the area and emits a recorded message, advising persons that their photo has been taken and to leave the area immediately.” The digital camera is meant to act as a deterrent to people who might commit vandalism or a crime, but the photo taken can also be used as evidence. The camera can be easily relocated to deal with problem areas as they arise. If the pilot test is successful, the city will consider purchasing one or more cameras. For more information, contact the general manager of community services at 250-392-1763.
LED lights signal savings in Nova Scotia
The province of Nova Scotia and six municipalities are spending time and money this year to convert older incandescent traffic lights to energy-saving light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. The change is expected to provide participating municipalities with reduced energy costs, improved street intersection safety, reduced maintenance costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
About 4,700 lights at 118 intersections will be replaced reducing energy costs by 90 percent. The LED lights are expected to last up to 10 years versus two years for incandescent bulbs.
This year, Nova Scotia’s Department of Energy is spending $173,658 on the traffic signal conversion project, which is part of the department’s Smart Energy Choices program. A similar program last year meant nearly 2,600 lights were changed to LED lights in six communities. Across the province, traffic lights owned by provincial government departments have already been converted.
Brampton, Ontario introduces smart cars
The combination of rising fuel costs and an increase in Ontario’s hybrid tax credit (up to $2,000) has made hybrid vehicles more of an option for public sector fleets. In early April, the City of Brampton introduced the first of 16 smart cars and hybrid vehicles, for use by the city’s by-law enforcement officers. The smart cars will conserve fuel – $13,000 in the first year alone – and reduce emissions (up to 32,000 kilograms of CO2).
Brampton purchased 10 diesel-powered Daimler-Chrysler smart cars, (approved by Transport Canada as environmentally friendly) and ordered six Honda Civic Hybrids. The Honda hybrid operates on gas and electricity (a self-regenerating nickel-metal-hydride battery is located behind the rear seat) and is the least expensive hybrid sedan available in Canada.
The purchase of these green vehicles, as well as the recent purchase of low-emission PM10 compliant street sweepers, demonstrates Brampton’s continuing commitment to using environmentally friendly products in its fleet. As well, city buses and municipal vehicles use biodiesel fuel. For more information on Brampton’s green fleet, contact email@example.com or call 905-874-2500.
Contractor chosen to design/construct False Creek Olympic Village
In early April, Vancouver City Council chose Vancouver-based Millennium Properties Limited to design and construct the first phase of the Southeast False Creek (SEFC) and Olympic Village. Southeast False Creek is the last remaining large tract of undeveloped waterfront land in downtown Vancouver comprising about 80 acres of city-owned and privately-owned land bounded by Cambie Bridge on the west, Main Street on the east, and 2nd Avenue to the south. Vancouver owns about 50 acres which it is now re-developing in phases, the first of which will be construction of the Olympic Village for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Design/construction will meet or exceed the social, economicand environmental sustainability standards set out in the city’s SEFC Official Development Plan (ODP). The competitive selection process, which began eight months ago, drew strong proposals from two other world-class teams led by Concord Pacific Limited and Wall Financial.
Millennium, a real estate developer with 60 years of experience on local and international projects, leads a development team comprising 17 firms, including Merrick Architecture and GBL Architecture. Millennium's proposal also provides training, employment, and business opportunities to inner-city and aboriginal communities.
According to the news release “Millennium will pay the city $193 million for development sites in SEFC to build market housing, commercial space, choice-of-use space, and underground parking facilities. The developer will also design and manage construction of 250 units of affordable housing, a child-care facility, community centre, non-motorized boating facility, and related underground parking facilities. The city will pay construction costs for these facilities plus a fee, which is roughly estimated to be $5 million. Millennium has also proposed a plan to create modest market housing for middle-income earners in the development, and will work with the city over the coming months to finalize its plans.” Full details on the SEFC project, and the evaluation process, can be found at vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20060404/documents/a4.pdf.
Water system improvements funded by federal-provincial infrastructure funds
The Canada-New Brunswick Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF) will provide the Town of St. George with $589,096 to upgrade its water-transmission system, “including replacement of brittle cast-iron pipes, upgrades to a booster station, looping dead-end distribution mains, and elimination of sources of contamination.”
In New Brunswick, ACOA is the federal department responsible for implementation of the program, while the Department of the Environment, in conjunction with the Regional Development Corporation, is responsible for provincial jurisdiction. More information on federal and New Brunswick infrastructure programs can be found at www.infrastructure.gc.ca and www.gnb.ca.
Nova Scotia adds new fibre network
In early April, Nova Scotia’s Valley Community Fibre Network was launched at the Nova Scotia Community College Kingstec campus, located in the Annapolis Valley. Provincial and federal agencies partnered with two educational institutions and six municipalities between Halifax and Middleton on this $3.2-million, community-owned and operated project. Funding was provided by “CANARIE, Canada’s advanced Internet organization, through Atlantic Canada Organization of Research Networks - Nova Scotia ($1,183,000); the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency ($863,040); the Municipality of the County of Kings ($227,349); Acadia University ($200,000); the Nova Scotia Community College ($200,000); the Municipality of the District of West Hants ($59,899); the Town of Wolfville ($21,257); the Town of Windsor ($16,826); the Town of Berwick ($10,907); and the Town of Hantsport ($6,440).”
The new network, expected to be operational in late fall, will connect with FundyWeb, an existing community-owned network already providing benefits to local and remote users. All users will be connected to CA*net 4, Canada's National Research and Education broadband network. More information can be obtained by contacting Mary Jane Fumerton, Office of Economic Development at 902-424-1728 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alberta adopts "Go Green" standard for major provincial buildings
The Alberta government is adopting the Building Owners and Managers Association’s (BOMA) “Go Green” certification program – a new environmental standard – for the operation of its major provincial government buildings across the province.
To achieve Go Green (http://www.bomagogreen.com) certification, facilities must demonstrate a commitment to minimum standards in ten categories: 1) energy use, 2) water use, 3) construction waste, 4) recycling, 5) hazardous materials, 6) materials selection, 7) ozone-depleting substances, 8) indoor air quality, 9) HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) maintenance, and 10) building occupant communication. The application fee is nominal and certification is valid for three years. Any new procedures and energy efficiency projects will be funded through related cost savings.
The first Alberta government-owned Go Green facility was the McDougall Centre in Calgary. The Alberta Research Council facility in Edmonton was the second provincial building to achieve certification. And the Alberta government has submitted an application to certify its Pincher Creek building. Alberta is considering more than 80 major provincial buildings for certification and will extend best practices to its smaller buildings.
Nova Scotia public procurement encourages economic development
Nova Scotia has been pursuing the policy of using reverse trade shows, to encourage the development of a robust provincial supplier base that is well versed in competing for government procurement opportunities. Buyers from three levels of government, universities and colleges, school boards and health-care facilities showcase their requirements to business owners and operators, and help local business understand their needs and how to work more effectively with the public procurement process. Currently, the Nova Scotia public sector spends $1 billion annually on goods, services and construction – 80 percent of that is purchased from Nova Scotia businesses and the province's Supplier Development Program is encouraging even more Nova Scotia companies to sell to government. The Supplier Development Program (www.gov.ns.ca/tenders) helps small businesses learn how to bid on contracts for government goods and services, and provides outreach services and community workshops on how to access business opportunities with government.
Halifax Regional Municipality pilots environmental partnership with Johnson Controls
In late April, Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) launched a pilot program by signing a performance contract with Johnson Controls, Inc. (www.johnsoncontrols.com) to reduce operating costs and greenhouse gases at its Metro Transit building. This is the first energy-saving performance contract for HRM, the success of which will determine whether this type of arrangement will be implemented at other HRM buildings.
According to Johnson Controls this “ performance contract enables facility and infrastructure improvements that are funded by the guaranteed energy and operational savings they create. In this case, the contract will pay for itself within eight years, starting in July of 2006, with assistance funds from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).”
Under this contract the Metro Transit building will be converted from fuel oil to natural gas – the first HRM building to do so – assisting HRM in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions saving a “total of 828 tons of carbon dioxide from phase one and 726 tons of carbon dioxide from a proposed phase two.” Air quality improvements, lighting technology improvements and deferred maintenance are also included in this contract.
dgmarket.com welcomes China’s publication of government contracts
dgMarket is an multilingual, independent website aggregating government procurement information from 150 countries created by the non-profit Development Gateway Foundation (www.developmentgateway.org) that allows users to search government tender opportunities worth US$500 billion dollars each year. In mid-April 2006, dgMarket.com welcomed China to its roster.
According to the news release “procurement notices from China valuing US$20 billion on an annual basis are expected to be added to dgMarket over the next year, increasing to US$100 billion annually within three years. The tenders selected for publishing will be open for international bidding and, generally, will be of US$50,000 value or higher.
Cooperating organizations for this initiative include the government-led China Internet Information Center (CIIC), represented by Beijing-based China Development Gateway, which manages one of the largest online information services in China and Chinabidding, Ltd., an official provider of Chinese government tenders. China Development Gateway will also manage a local version of the dgMarket service, called www.toubiao.info.”
Alberta upgrades security features at provincial courthouses
Alberta is instituting a comprehensive perimeter security system for its courthouses province wide at an anticipated cost of $8.4 million over the next three years. Early in April walk through scanners and x-ray machines came online at the Edmonton Law Courts and the Calgary Court of Appeal. Other court locations will soon see similar security equipment. Starting June 1, that includes Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge with more to follow later this year and in 2007, including the new Calgary courthouse. The security plan also includes expanding videoconferencing to almost 80 courtrooms, remand centres and correctional facilities across the province. Videoconferencing allows offenders to appear in court via camera, reducing the number of offenders transferred from correctional facilities to court.
BC builds new environmentally friendly school in the Kootenay’s
In early April, British Columbia approved $15.1 million to build a new, environmentally friendly school to replace Sparwood secondary school in the Southeast Kootenay school district. The new school will be built on the site of the existing school and will accommodate 350 students in grades 7 through 12. Construction is expected to start this September and the new school will be open in September 2007. Features include a design that will take advantage of natural lighting, of southern exposure and heat gain in cold weather, a modern heat pump system with a backup high-efficiency boiler, leading-edge computer technology infrastructure for wireless adaptability and a new sports field with improved drainage.
Ontario supports Niagara business development website
The Ontario government is investing $26,000 through its Rural Economic Development Program (www.omafra.gov.on.ca) to help the Niagara Economic Development Corporation, the Regional Municipality of Niagara and the Niagara Association of Realtors create a Web-based tool to increase local business development opportunities. The website, based on a geographic information system, allows users to view detailed business profiles and sophisticated regional demographic, social and economic information from Statistics Canada specifically related to Niagara. The information will help users identify, map and analyze available industrial, commercial and agricultural properties in the Niagara region and develop an understanding of both the labour market and consumer characteristics surrounding their desired location. For further information, contact Brian Cardy, Rural Investments Branch, (519) 826-3787.
Nova Scotia hospital information system project completed
Nova Scotia's hospital information system has now been implemented in 34 hospitals across eight district health authorities. Implementation began in March 2001. The completion of this project is an important step towards the creation of an electronic health record (EHR) for every Nova Scotian, and helps to ensure that the province’s 7,000 doctors, nurses and other medical staff have the information and tools they need to provide the best care possible. The system also reduces the need for patients to repeat the same medical history over and over. It has reduced both the wait times for tests and numbers of duplicated tests and procedures, and increased the quality and volume of data required to monitor the health system. The total cost of the project was $55.7 million.
GoC investment in air-handling system pays off
In early March a new air-handling system made its debut at a new Hamilton townhouse development, Duran Park Towers. Developed by Ecologix Heating Technologies Inc. of Cambridge, Ontario, with $400,000 in support from Natural Resources Canada and the National Research Council, the Zone Comfort System, with its sophisticated compact boiler and forced air handler allows combination-heating systems to operate with greatly improved efficiency year-round.
According to Ecologix president Steve Davies. “Its airtight, pre-engineered duct system and floor-by-floor airflow control ensures that the cool air produced by the air conditioner gets to where it is needed. A built-in dehumidification cycle delivers superior air-conditioned comfort. Together, these features lead to lower electricity consumption and ultimately savings for the homeowner.” The Zone Comfort System provides an estimated savings of 3,300 kilowatt-hours a year, per unit. For more information contact Emma Welford, director of communications in the Office of the Minister Natural Resources Canada at (613) 996-2007.
DND contracts for translation software
In early March 2006, following an international competitive bid process, the Department of National Defence (DND) selected MultiCorpora’s flagship MultiTrans 4 software suite for the implementation of a large-scale Defence Terminology Management system. MultiTrans 4 provides a securely distributed terminology management capability, which will be integrated with a TextBase translation memory tool to facilitate DND terminology standardization in translated documents. The software solution, designed to operate via the Web, can handle text from the vast majority of languages in a wide variety of formats. Past translations, which may be scattered across an organization, can be quickly transformed into a format easily searched for expressions regardless of length and in their full usage context. Along with comprehensive terminology management, this provides full control over language assets, helping organizations to reduce costs, increase time-to-market and improve legal compliance. For more information see www.multicorpora.com.
Manitoba opens model ethanol fuel station
The governments of Canada and Manitoba have launched a sustainable-transportation project to demonstrate whether fuels with high ethanol content can be used in provincial light-duty fleet vehicle operations. Federal funding of $121,000 and provincial in-kind contributions of $53,000 will cover the cost of installing the E85 storage and fuelling facility. E85 is an environmentally friendly fuel with an ethanol content of up to 85 percent. Ethanol is produced from grain. Blending it with gasoline significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Provincial fleet vehicles serving in the Winnipeg area (60 vehicles) and those operated by federal offices (25 RCMP vehicles) will use the E85 special filling station.
Brampton spends on recreational capital works program
The City of Brampton is investing over $105 million on recreational capital works program intended to meet both neighbourhood and city wide needs. The combined recreation centres capital works program will deliver four multi-purpose recreational facilities over the next two years. In early March, the city approved hiring Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners to design a new recreation centre at Chinquacousy Road and Sandalwood Parkway, in the northwest quadrant of the community. Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners has provided architectural and engineering consulting services for clients throughout Canada and the United States since 1945. For more information, contact Raj Sheth, project manager for the city, at (905) 874-2335.
Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation licenses proprietary road repair technology
In early March 2006, Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation entered into a licensing agreement with WRT Equipment Ltd. of Saskatoon, which allows the company to manufacture and sell a unique road repair machine invented by department employees. The Transverse Crack-filling Machine (TCM 8000), developed, tested and used by Highways and Transportation staff in central Saskatchewan over the past three years, produces modified asphalt mixes that can used to treat cracking, rutting, and depressed areas on roads and highways. This piece of equipment compliments WRT's existing line of road construction equipment. Highways and Transportation officials will continue to work with WRT to provide technical expertise and assistance. For more information, contact Kirsten Leatherdale, Highways and Transportation, at (306) 787-8484.
Calgary’s waterworks gets asset management system
With a population increase of more than 26 percent in the past 10 years, Calgary has been the fastest growing municipality in Canada and is home to the second highest number of corporate headquarters in Canada. Infrastructure asset management and planning has become a top priority to support its rapidly increasing demands. Calgary identified SPL WorldGroup’s SPL® Enterprise Asset & Work Management (EAM) solution, an enterprise-wide asset management system, as the one that would meet its need for higher level master planning and help to maintain optimal services at an affordable rate. In early March the city’s Water Services Business Unit went live with the system. Ultimately the city will have 400 users on SPL EAM, tracking a broad range of more than 2 million plant and linear assets. More information can be found at www.splwg.com.
Hospital Logistics Inc keeps an eye on its own ball
Hospital Logistics Inc. provides supply chain management solutions to hospitals in the greater Toronto area including the University Health Network, Mount Sinai Hospital, Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, and the recently opened Kensington Eye Institute. Medical professionals rely on having adequate supplies available, and efficient management of these supplies by HLI means doctors and nurses can focus on patient care. HLI has contracted Teranet for three years to host and operate HLI’s servers and network switches, leaving HLI to focus on what it does best.
Energy-efficient buildings strategy launched in Kelowna, BC
In spring 2006, the governments of Canada and British Columbia implemented the Energy Efficiency in Buildings Strategy. It is supported by $615,000 in funding from the federal government and $500,000 in in-kind contributions from BC such as co-ordination and facilitation services, and PST exemptions for energy conservation equipment. Funding will go to FortisBC and Okanagan College. The federal funding to FortisBC augments FortisBC’s PowerSense fund of $4.4 million targeted for consumer information and incentives aimed at improving energy efficiency such as:
- $275,000 for the “EnerGuide for Houses 80” program to help build 500 qualified homes in FortisBC’s service area;
- $260,000 for the Energy Star Window program where customers receive a rebate of $1.50 per square foot of qualified windows installed up to March 31, 2007;
- $50,000 in heat pump technology support to provide more customer rebates, seminars, general information and advanced contractor training up to March 31, 2007; and
- $20,000 in “smart metering” funding to help customers save money by monitoring “real time” energy usage in their homes.
The province has also provided $10,000 to Okanagan College, which FortisBC will match over the next two years. The college will include the latest energy efficient building standards in its residential construction program (launched in 2004) and carpentry apprenticeship classes, following the proven R-2000 Builders’ Training Course. Instructional resources will be organized by the provincial Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) and the local association CHBA-Kelowna will administer registrations and course material.
ROI for Region of Peel from energy management
In 2002, when Ontario moved from a monopoly-based electricity market to a deregulated, competitive electricity market, the Region of Peel’s (ROP) billing system was unable to take advantage of the cost breaks afforded by bulk energy purchases in a deregulated market and utility bills became highly complicated. In May 2004, ROP, located near Toronto, contracted with Itron (www.itron.com) for the company’s enterprise energy management (EEM) suite of software to help manage energy consumption and expenditures at its facilities, and to forecast future energy demand. Less than two years later, the ROP has saved its residents more than $8 million.
Itron enterprise edition energy management software allowed ROP to put in place a system of bill validation and verification resulting in a number of billing errors being caught, which captured loss revenue. Region of Peel sees savings through cost recovery from billing errors for both current and historical invoices, cost avoidance through accurate forecasting and securing hedge contracts, as well as analysis of facility types and consumption profiles to identify proper rate classifications and contractual opportunities.
New Brunswick builds LEED-designed elementary school
This spring, New Brunswick Supply and Services awarded Simpson Building Contractors Ltd. of Fredericton (lowest bid of six responses) a $3.6-million contract for the construction of a new elementary school in Havelock, New Brunswick that will replace two existing schools. The new one-storey, energy-efficient school will be approximately 1,767 square metres (19,634 square feet) in size, will accommodate up to 150 students from kindergarten to Grade 5 and is expected to be completed by September 2006. It has been designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles, an industry standard used to measure green building performance. For more information, contact Judy Cole, communications officer, Supply and Services, at (506) 457-7903.
North Vancouver goes green
The City of North Vancouver, as part of its commitment to the Greenhouse Gas Local Action Plan, which aims to reduce corporate and community greenhouse gas emissions (a target reduction of 20 percent in corporate based GHG emissions by the year 2010), has become a member of BC Hydro’s Green Power Certificate Program and Power Smart Partner Program. Under the Green Power Certificate Program, the city will purchase over 10 percent of its building electrical power from green energy sources, thereby supporting BC’s efforts to use green power that is renewable and environmentally responsible, with minimal or no emissions. Through the Power Smart Partner Program, the City will work with BC Hydro to integrate energy efficiency into its ongoing business management practices, enabling the city to reduce costs and improve municipal operations and gain access to BC Hydro programs and funding for initiatives to identify and implement energy efficient projects.
North Vancouver has also joined EnerGuide for Existing Buildings (EEB), a program sponsored by the federal government. EEB enables the city to work with a network of partners and service providers across Canada and to be eligible for grants and funding opportunities that support municipal plans to reduce energy costs and GHG emissions. For more information about the city’s environmental projects and initiatives, visit http://www.cnv.org//server.aspx?c=3&i=302.
Kelowna tests sun-powered parking meters
Kelowna, BC began installing 22 new solar powered Pay and Display parking meters on Bernard Avenue, between Abbott and Bertram Streets, on March 1, 2006 with more to be installed in other locations by the end of that month. The new meters are being installed as part of a one year no cost trial to help Kelowna decide whether or not to purchase the equipment, which was supplied by Precise Park Link. One new unit can replace up to fifteen of the old meters and, because they are solar-powered, underground cables and connections are not required. Wireless technology allows them to be centrally monitored so problems or malfunctions can be quickly identified and corrected. Fewer meters lowers maintenance costs and is more aesthetically pleasing.
Pay and Display meters accept both coins and credit cards and feature a user-friendly keypad with easy to follow instructions. Users simply purchase a ticket from the closest meter and place the valid ticket face-up on their dashboard. City staff introduced users on how to use the new meters. An additional benefit is that once a ticket is purchased, it is valid for the time shown at any Kelowna on or off-street parking stalls (parkades, reserved lots and event lots excluded). However, posted time restrictions remain in effect and are enforced.
US beefs up passport security with technology
In October 2005 a US Homeland Security Department rule went into effect that requires visitors from the 27 countries that are part of the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to carry passports with digital photos. Carriers that transport people to the United States without the new passports will be punished with fines of up to $3,300, per violation.
In late December, the US State Department began issuing electronic passports on a trial basis. The e-passports contain both a radio frequency chip embedded into the cover of the document and a digital image of the traveler. The radio frequency chip interacts without direct contact with a radio frequency reader held at a close distance allowing the passport information to be “read.” Privacy advocates are raising concerns over having personal information stolen or “skimmed” from the passport, but the State Department maintains that the chips only can be read from “approximately four inches” away from the source and are encrypted to prevent the interception of information by an unauthorized party. The passports are being tested to determine whether they comply with International Civil Aviation Organization standards.
VIA Rail offers Wi-Fi
At the end of April 2006, VIA Rail will offer the first wireless broadband Internet service for passengers traveling in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor on VIA 1 first class coaches and will have the economy coaches fully equipped for Wi-Fi service by the end of 2006. PointShot Wireless, based in Ottawa, is providing the hardware for on-train communications and connectivity management. The Internet service is provided by satellite with download speeds between 1 Mbps (rural areas) and 3 Mbps (urban centres). Users will pay a reasonable fee based on usage.
Nova Scotia tests GPS technology to monitor offenders
On May 2, 2006 Nova Scotia announced the launch of a one-year implementation of the electronic supervision of offenders – the first province to use GPS (global positioning system) technology to monitor offenders subject to sentences that contain conditions for house arrest.
The initial implementation will take place in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and involves up to 25 offenders. The system consists of an ankle bracelet and a GPS recording device, worn by the offender, which will track the wearer and report back to a central monitoring system. The offender will be monitored 24/7.
Mammoth Communications Inc. of Halifax was awarded the contract to provide monitoring services and iSECUREtrac Corp. of Nebraska was awarded the contract to provide the GPS wireless technology equipment. Mammoth, which has a 25-year history in the Canadian security industry, has built a dealer network that covers all of Canada from Nova Scotia to BC. iSECUREtrac (www.isecuretrac.com) is currently focused in the area of law enforcement, corrections, and homeland security for monitoring offenders in community release programs, such as sex offenders and other persons requiring community supervision. It signed a 3-year contract to work with Mammoth in April 2006.
Alberta seeks private partners for northeast Calgary ring road
The first step in Alberta’s public-private partnership (P3) process involves issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) to evaluate potential private partners’ qualifications for the project. An RFQ is used to determine potential partners’ qualifications and to short-list potential partners to three proponents. Potential partners – usually consortiums of engineering, construction, financing, and road maintenance companies – may be headquartered or operate in any part of the world. RFQs usually take up to three months to prepare, submit, and review.
The RFQ to build the northeast leg of Calgary’s ring road has been issued. By fall of 2006, the top three candidates will be selected and will then submit proposals to determine which of them, if any, will undertake the project. Preparation, submission, and review of proposals usually takes about six months. Proposals are evaluated against a public sector comparator to determine if they represent good value.
Final contract award is expected by early 2007, with construction completed by fall 2009. If built through the P3 process, it is estimated that the road would be finished two years earlier than through conventional methods and the contractor can be penalized for late delivery. The successful candidate would be responsible for the design, construction, financing, and operation of this section of the ring road for 30 years, recouping their costs through equal payments from government over 30 years once the road is open. Under the design, build, finance, operate (P3) process, the province is guaranteed a fixed price and delivery date for the road and also receives a 30-year warranty on the work. Under traditional delivery, warranties are usually only one to two years.
Ontario explores doing business better with small business
In spring 2006, the Ontario government announced it would create a Small Business Agency to help small business deal with the amount of government paperwork they must wade through and to find information about regulations more easily, saving them time and money. The agency will:
- lead regulatory reviews in priority areas;
- give small business representatives an opportunity to speak directly to government decision-makers;
- look at ways to reduce the paperwork required to run a small business;
- review key existing regulations and examine proposed new regulations to try and make compliance as easy as possible, while protecting health and safety;
- work to prevent new regulatory burdens on small business, making sure the government is aware of how each new regulation could affect small business;
- work with small business groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and other community business organizations to see where improvements need to be made.
As well, the province had explored ways to enhance its procurement policies and processes and improve the way it does business with small and medium-sized (SMEs) companies through a series of consultations launched a year ago between small businesses in five communities in the province and the “Doing Business with the Ontario Government Task Force.” The final report (http://www.cbs.gov.on.ca/mcbs/english/new_report.htm#_Toc117568501) of the task force was released in January 2006.
During the consultations small business identified significant barriers to them selling to the province:
- The procurement process is too complicated and favours large companies over SMEs.
- Information about low-value procurements is difficult to get.
- Finding out who buys what they sell is also difficult.
- Government buyers choose vendors they “know” in low-dollar-value procurements.
- Government buyers see SMEs as riskier to buy from.
- Responding to government RFQs, RFIs and RFPs, etc. is costly and time consuming.
Suppliers did offer suggestions on how to improve the process. As a result of the consultations the report identifies 11 recommendations that were developed to address the concerns of SMEs, several of which were to be implemented immediately with others to be implemented in the medium term.
- To continue the dialogue and discussion between small and medium-sized business vendors and the Ontario government, and in collaboration with small and medium-sized business organizations, begin offering regular (e.g., annual, semi-annually, quarterly) “procurement 101/201” training and information sessions.
- In consultation with small business organizations, create a variety of regular and ongoing vendor/government information exchange days.
- Build on existing and, as appropriate, develop new small and medium-sized business “outreach” materials and facilitate their distribution to small and medium-sized businesses.
- Require all Ontario government ministries using MERX for purchasing goods or services to post the contract award information.
- Revise government procurement policy to make it mandatory for ministries to offer a vendor debriefing as part of their procurement process.
- Examine the Ontario government's current accounts payable process to find out how to shorten the time it takes to pay vendors' invoices.
- Create a vendor information database for vendors to submit information on their companies for use by the Ontario government in identifying vendors offering low-dollar value goods or services, and for large, external contractors to use in identifying small and medium-sized businesses for potential sub-contracting work. The database would include the vendors' contact information and the goods and services they offer.
- Examine the government's current procurement related insurance and limitation of liability requirements to further enhance their commercial reasonableness.
- Review current procurement practices to determine the feasibility of changing the process for vendors to qualify to become a VOR so that it would not require them to incur the upfront expense of obtaining items such as insurance coverage, until the vendor is actually selected to supply goods or services to the government.
- Develop VOR arrangements with “tiered” risk management terms and conditions, whereby vendors have the option of qualifying for low-risk, medium-risk and/or high-risk assignments.
- Assess if it is feasible to develop a policy framework that will provide a structure for the government to receive and consider vendors' innovative or pilot project proposals.”
Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology iron-framed windows restored
With expertise from Robertson Restoration of Brantford and Toronto architect Edwin Rowse, restoration work to windows of the historic Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology is underway. The original 146-year old windows of the pump house and boiler house at the national historic site are being repaired to restore the deteriorating cast iron frames to their original condition. The frames of the windows were encased behind layers of paint. But after many years, water crept behind the paint layer and the iron started to rust and deteriorate. At the end of the project in May, all of the windows will be operating as well as they did in 1860. For more information, contact Mac Swackhammer, Curator at (905) 546-4797.
Simon Fraser University tests solar-powered trash compactor
Simon Fraser University is testing Big Belly, the first solar-powered garbage compactor in Canada. Using solar-powered electricity, the stand-alone dumpster can compress 10 cubic metres of garbage into one-eighth its size. However, Big Belly is not cheap, coming in at roughly $6,000 per unit, and savings in fuel and labour costs, achieved by reducing the number of times a garbage truck has to empty it, are yet to be proved. The City of Vancouver tested one that operated for a month on battery power derived from solar energy, which was filtered through what was a record rainfall with only two days of sunlight. Queens, New York is testing 50 units. Big Belly is built by Seahorse Power Co.
Ontario invites four to bid on new archives facility
In late February 2006, Ontario short-listed four groups to submit final proposals for its new Archives of Ontario main public service facility. According to the news release “The Archives of Ontario is the largest provincial archives in Canada, with a collection valued at more than $400 million.” The new facility, to be located in Toronto, will be a new or renovated building of 90,000-square feet. It will house public reading rooms, offices, conservation labs, and archival processing areas and will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. It is expected to be ready in early 2009. The project is proceeding under ReNew Ontario, the government's 5-year, $30 billion infrastructure renewal plan (www.mgs.gov.on.ca).
The four short-listed groups who are taking part in the final procurement stage are: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; Union Pearson Group Inc.; Woodcliffe Corporation and Westdale Construction Co. Ltd.; and, York University. The successful proponent will be selected by early summer.
RFP released for Oshawa, Ontario’s Durham Consolidated Courthouse
In late February, the Ontario government invited the three short-listed consortia to bid on a proposal to design, build, finance and maintain Oshawa’s Durham Consolidated Courthouse.
The RFP was released to:
- SNC Lavalin Engineers & Constructors Inc. (SNC-Lavalin), Bondfield Construction Company Limited and ProFac Facilities Management Services Inc.
- Durham Courthouse Centre Corporation, consisting of EllisDon Inc, EllisDon Design Build Inc., LPF Realty (owned 100% by Labourers' Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Ontario), CIBC World Markets and Carillion Canada Inc.
- Access Justice Durham, a consortium involving ABN Amro Bank N.V., Canada Branch, PCL Constructors Canada Inc. and Johnson Controls LP
The state-of-the-art, integrated courthouse will be built on city-owned land – a former brownfield site at Bond and Mary Streets – and will consolidate justice services currently being delivered from six locations in the Region of Durham. The new 360,000-square-foot courthouse will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and house 33 courtrooms, three motions rooms, two conference/settlement rooms and related justice services. This project will be managed by Infrastructure Ontario under the government's Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) program. For more information, contact Bob Duignan, Oshawa city manager at (905) 436-5636, ext. 2258.
Saskatchewan updates air fleet
As part of its air fleet renewal program, Saskatchewan will buy four conversion kits to update its CL-215 airtankers at a cost of $50.9 million. The conversion kits will be manufactured by Bombardier, with the first to be delivered in October 2007. According to the news release “the conversion of the planes’ radial engines to more powerful turbine engines will reduce downtime and ongoing maintenance costs, as well as increasing the speed at which the planes can fly, making them even more effective. A third party, to be selected through a public process, will install the kits.”
Other purchases to renew the fleet include seven new birddog aircraft, used to guide the airtankers to their targets, and four new land-based Convair 580A airtankers to replace the older DeHavilland tracker airtankers.
MARCAN offers better access to Canadian public sector procurement
An initiative of federal, provincial and territorial governments under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), MARCAN has been developed to help Canadian companies identify Internet sites that may publish tender notices for procurement contracts within the Canadian public sector. In late February 2006, MARCAN announced that it has been expanded to let business know the rules for public sector procurement. It identifies the public organizations covered by the rules and specifies the purchase levels at which the rules apply and the process that applies to bid protests. It also provides current procurement contacts and information on doing business with each government. The MARCAN initiative follows a successful meeting of federal, provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for internal trade in June 2005 and the recent introduction of rules, based on the AIT’s principles of transparency, fairness, accessibility and non-discrimination in public procurement, governing billions of dollars of crown corporation procurement. For further information contact Anna Maria Magnifico, Executive Director, Internal Trade Secretariat, at (204) 987-8094 or by email at email@example.com.
Highlights of Oracle Corporation and Bristol Business School survey on e-procurement
Key findings indicate that businesses are beginning to see a ROI on e-procurement investments.
According to the 105 respondents to the survey:
- 41 percent of those surveyed have implemented e-procurement and are already experiencing tangible benefits
- 33 percent of those surveyed have not yet implemented e-procurement but have seen enough evidence to be encouraged that it will provide tangible benefits including:
- being a useful tool for organizational change within purchasing (84 percent);
- a delivery of real savings to the organization (77 percent); and
- a support to strategic sourcing initiatives (69 percent).
- 70 percent of respondents say the lack of skilled purchasing staff is now the greatest barrier to best practice e-procurement adoption
- 67 percent of respondents cited inadequate training of the user community as one of biggest barriers to best practice e-procurement
- 69 percent of respondents feel their organization's attitude towards e-procurement is changing and becoming more positive
- 20 percent feel their organization's attitude towards e-procurement has stayed the same.
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