In the News Archive
June 2006

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Ontario announces funding for connecting road improvements.

The Ontario government's $14.4 million Connecting Link Program assists municipalities with construction projects for local roads that connect provincial highways. An additional $1.3 million in federal funding is provided for the Sault Ste. Marie truck route through the federal Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program (SHIP) for borders. Currently, 346 kilometres of road and 70 bridges are funded under the Connecting Link Program. By keeping communities well connected, the government is keeping traffic and the economy moving. On June 2, 2006 Ontario announced funding for the following connecting roads:

  • $822,750 for highways 60 and 41 at Renfrew, Bonnechere Valley and Pembroke
  • $1.64 million for highways 11 and 101 at Kapuskasing, Hearst and Timmins
  • $1.2 million for highway 520 in Burk’s Falls
  • $180,000 for highway 26 connecting link in Collingwood
  • $747,700 for highways 594 and 11 connecting links in Fort Frances and Dryden
  • $270,000 for highway 7 connecting link in Kawartha Lakes
  • $1.4 million for highway 6 connecting link in Wellington North
  • $1.3 million for highways 6, 6/21 and 10 connecting links in West Grey, Owen Sound, South Bruce Peninsula and Chatsworth
  • $250,000 for highway 3 connecting link in Haldimand County.

US initiative offers purchasing advice for renewable energy procurements

The Responsible Purchasing Network, an initiative launched by the non-profit Center for a New American Dream ( www.newdream.org), has teamed up with Think Energy, Inc (www.thinkenergy.net), to provide three US jurisdictions with professional advice and assistance when making a large purchase of clean, renewable energy. The Responsible Purchasing Network is looking for a few governments willing to take the lead in reducing their dependence on fossil fuels and meeting their greenhouse gas reduction goals by shifting 25 percent of their energy portfolio to clean, renewable energy supplies.

According to the early June news release, “selected state and local governments will receive a detailed evaluation of clean energy products available, including a review of costs and benefits, a look at case studies from other jurisdictions, and a practical timeline for concluding a purchase. Participating jurisdictions will also engage in direct consultations with the Responsible Purchasing Network and Think Energy.”

Applications are available at www.newdream.org/procure/energyapp/index.php. Applicants must be a state or local government, with a minimum of 1 million kilowatt-hours of electrical energy use annually; have political support; and an appropriate level of funding for purchasing clean energy. Those chosen will represent various locations, jurisdiction sizes, scales of purchase (total MWh), and desired types of renewable energy products.

Fleetchallenge.ca provides environmental options and tools

Fleet Challenge Canada, (www.fleetchallenge.ca, whose mission is to “promote and support continuous improvement in energy efficiency and emission reductions among on-road vehicle fleets,” has a national website as well as domains for Alberta, BC, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. The participating provinces offer various programs (not all offer all programs): accreditation, best practices, biodiesel, cab heater and APUs, fleet assessment, hybrid, hydrogen, idling reduction, school busses and stakeholder coordination.

Dennis Rogoza is the president and CEO of Fleet Challenge Canada. As director of Fleet Challenge BC, Rogoza is involved with the BC Biodiesel Working Group, BC Hydrogen Market Development Working Group and the Green Fleet Accreditation System.

Canadian fleet technology product vendors regularly claim that their product reduces fuel use or reduces emissions. In the past, fleet managers have been forced to confirm the claims; now Fleet Challenge offers a solution a partnership with ETV Canada, an independent, non-profit organization mainly funded by Environment Canada that will provide independent third-party verification. Canada’s Environmental Technology Verification Program was established in 1997 by Environment Canada to provide a mechanism for the independent performance verification of environmental technologies.

ETV Canada (www.etvcanada.com) offers a reliable assessment process for verifying the environmental performance claims associated with projects and programs, as well as technologies and technological processes. Fleet Challenge Network members will now have access to a verified list of technologies/products and a referral process for unverified technologies and products.

The fleet challenge website also offers a fleet management system checklist to help fleet managers accurately monitor and track the history of individual vehicles and equipment.

Radisson, Quebec showcases leading-edge technology for water treatment

On June 2, the town of Radisson, a community of 500 that is part of the James Bay Municipality, inaugurated a new water treatment plant that is employing leading-edge technology in order to comply with Quebec’s new regulations for drinking water quality. Partners in the project were Radisson and the Bay James Municipality, the Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin and Dagua, a privately-owned Canadian company that develops, manufactures and markets stand-alone, safe and environmentally friendly water treatment plants providing up to 5000 m(3) per day of drinking water for communities of up to 13,000 inhabitants.

Radisson set up and implemented a drinking water treatment procedure using an ozone and membrane filtration system that was certified by the Drinking Water Treatment Technologies Committee of the Government of Quebec. In 2005, the Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade announced funding in the amount of $273,911 for Dagua Inc. (www.dagua.com) to make Radisson a showcase for this type of water treatment technology – it does not require any chemicals and is effective even for highly polluted water. For more information contact Claude Gagné, director, Community of Radisson, at (819) 638-7777 or Pierre Bélanger, president, Dagua Inc. at (450) 378-1978.

Canadian Pharmacists Association offers online drug information portal

Another tool in the effort to integrate medical information into one easy to access place has been developed by the Ottawa-based Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA). For years, CPhA has provided healthcare workers with a compendium of pharmaceutical information, (physicians call it the “blue bible”); it now offers an online version – e-Therapeutics, which will deliver up-to-date and unbiased drug information. The portal, developed in conjunction with IBM Canada in Markham, Ontario, aggregates several sources of information (mostly formerly paper-based) into a centralized electronic repository. To ensure the information is as accurate as possible, the CPhA uses 130 experts (each in their medical specialty) to develop content, which is then reviewed by clinical panels. Accurate and easily accessible drug information, such as which drug(s) are appropriate for which disease, the recommended dosage, possible interactions with other drugs, potential side effects should help reduce the number of adverse drug events that occur.

CMHC and Vancouver agree to work together on a sustainable Olympic Athletes’ Village

In early June 2006, the City of Vancouver and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) signed a memorandum of understanding that will see CMHC provide technical assistance and best practices to the design process of the city-owned Southeast False Creek development. CMHC will help research and support the design and construction of a net-zero-energy healthy housing project, and a state-of-the-art energy and resource-efficient building that produces as much or more energy as it consumes on an annual basis. The development underway at Southeast False Creek will serve as a blueprint for sustainable community design. Some of the infrastructure elements being developed and utilized are a neighbourhood district energy system and an innovative storm water management system as well as sustainable transportation options.

Southeast False Creek is a 32-hectare site of city-owned and privately-owned land near downtown Vancouver being redeveloped as a mixed-use sustainable community. The city-owned land will be home to the Vancouver Olympic Village for athletes and officials during the 2010 Winter Games. Afterwards, the area will be transformed into a model sustainable development based on environmental, social and economic principles. Southeast False Creek is expected to house 12-16 thousand people by 2018.

Government of Canada and Alberta joint projects

The Government of Canada and the Province of Alberta will invest $16.6 million toward 10 projects under the Canada/Alberta Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA). These projects support the shared priorities of both the federal and provincial governments. According to the May 23rd news release, the cost-shared initiatives will fall under one of two themes:

  1. Innovation and value-added industries: Includes investments that strengthen Alberta's innovation and value-added industries by supporting initiatives that contribute to increased capacity, awareness, and use of new technologies; and the development of industry-specific research infrastructure and technology commercialization.
  2. Regional economic development and sustainable communities: Includes investments that improve the viability, prosperity and quality of life in Alberta communities by supporting initiatives that contribute to a sustainable approach to regional development that incorporates economic, environmental and social considerations.
    The parties may identify additional priorities and projects over the term of the agreement. Both parties will allocate up to $25 million each to this program, for a total of up to $50 million over the term of the agreement.

Project List Summary (from Government of Alberta backgrounder)

1. CO2 Management Program - $6,000,000 Western Economic Diversification Canada contribution: $3,000,000 Government of Alberta contribution: $3,000,000

On behalf of Alberta Innovation and Science, and working with the Energy Innovation Network (EnergyINet), the Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI), will establish and operate the CO2 Management Program. The program will develop an implementation plan and conduct research focused on the geological sequestration of carbon dioxide. It will identify suitable commercial CO2 source-sink opportunities within the western Canadian sedimentary basin and perform risk assessment studies for storage issues. The project will also create and implement a monitoring, measurement and verification program for the Penn West CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery Field Project. The Alberta Research Council, the Alberta Geological Survey, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of Regina will conduct the research. Contact: Dr. Surindar Singh, Senior Research Manager, Alberta Energy Research Institute, Alberta Innovation and Science (780) 422-0046.

2. Western Canada Fuel Cell Initiative - $2,130,000 Western Economic Diversification Canada contribution: $990,000 Government of Alberta contribution: $1,140,000

On behalf of Alberta Innovation and Science and working with EnergyINet, the Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI) will establish a fuel cell research program for the conversion of stranded industrial hydrogen to electricity. This initiative will support the systematic investigation, evaluation and development of "impure" hydrogen fuel cell technology under the auspices of the Western Canada Fuel Cell Initiative, a network of western Canadian universities working on fuel cell and related technologies. Research will be carried out at the University of Alberta, University of Calgary and the Alberta Research Council. Contact: Richard Nelson, Senior Research Manager, Alberta Energy Research Institute, Alberta Innovation and Science (780) 427-0286.

3. Canadian Environmental Technology Advancement Corporation - West (CETAC - West) Innovation and Technology Commercialization Capacity Building - $900,000 Western Economic Diversification Canada contribution: $450,000 Government of Alberta contribution: $450,000

Funding for this project is directed to designing a suite of services for small environmental technology firms in the early stages of technology development and commercialization. This will assist small-and medium-sized ventures to increase their business and management capabilities, and more quickly bring products and ideas into the marketplace. Contact: Margaret Kelly, Vice-President, CETAC-West, (403) 777-9586.

4. Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute, Medical Device Development Program - Phase Two: $550,000 Western Economic Diversification Canada contribution: $500,000 Government of Alberta contribution: $50,000

This project involves the creation of an initial product development system that can effectively move product ideas from a concept phase to a prototype stage to address an identified health need. In addition to the economic development component that results from supporting industry-based projects, this initiative will also provide an opportunity for post-secondary students to participate in the real-life medical device development process. This project is a continuation of Phase One, which was funded under the previous Canada/Alberta /Western Economic Partnership Agreement. Contact: Ian Robinson, Project Leader, Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute, (403) 206-5176.

5. Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative (CUAI), Aboriginal Community Capacity Building: $587,404 Western Economic Diversification Canada contribution: $437,404 Government of Alberta contribution: $150,000

WEPA funding for this initiative is directed towards capacity building activities, domain support, professional development and communications activities that will help CUAI serve Calgary's urban Aboriginal community. The City of Calgary is also a partner in this initiative. Contact: Barbara Milmine, Director, CUAI, (403) 268-3231.

6. Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge, Aboriginal Opportunities Initiative - $438,458 Western Economic Diversification Canada contribution: $363,458 Government of Alberta contribution: $75,000

This initiative is to assist the Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge in its work to increase Aboriginal participation in Lethbridge’s economy. This initiative is part of an ongoing process to address the underlying economic and social issues in relation to employment, business and other economic development opportunities for Aboriginal people living in Lethbridge. Contact: Karen English-Manyfingers, Project Manager, Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge, (403) 320-7699.

7. MicroSystems Technology Research Institute (MSTRI): Phase Two - $2,000,000 Western Economic Diversification Canada contribution: $1,500,000 Government of Alberta contribution: $500,000

MSTRI - Phase Two will support activities directed at accelerating the awareness of the microsystem and nanotechnology revolution and the commercial potential it offers, as well as efforts directed at identifying and funding early-stage microsystem and nanotechnology prototype development projects. This project is a continuation of MicroSystems Technology Research Institute -Phase One, which was funded under the previous Canada/Alberta Western Economic Partnership Agreement. Contact: Dr. David Lynch, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Alberta, (780) 492-3596.

8. Biomass Energy for Regional Development - $987,690 Western Economic Diversification Canada contribution: $487,690 Government of Alberta contribution: $500,000

The Alberta Forestry Research Institute (AFRI), in conjunction with the Alberta Agricultural Research Institute (AARI) and the Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI), on behalf of Alberta Innovation and Science, will carry out this project to assess and evaluate existing technologies and select an appropriate technology bundle to demonstrate a small- to medium-scale biomass combined heat and power generation system. The aim of this project is to set the groundwork for full-scale commercial demonstration. Contact: Don Harrison, Managing Director, Alberta Forestry Research Institute, Alberta Innovation and Science (780) 427-2567.

9. Agriculture Bio-Waste Utilization Centre - $1,200,000 Western Economic Diversification Canada contribution: $600,000 Government of Alberta contribution: $600,000

The Alberta Research Council will establish the Agriculture Bio-Waste Utilization Centre for management and utilization of agricultural bio-waste, with the aim of turning waste into revenue generating products. Contact: Xiaomei Li, Senior Research Scientist, Alberta Research Council (780) 450-5290.

10. BioProducts Alberta Programs and Projects - $1,800,000 Western Economic Diversification Canada contribution: $900,000 Government of Alberta contribution: $900,000

This investment will assist efforts to facilitate, encourage and promote bioproducts industry development in Alberta. BioProducts Alberta will focus on technology development, economic and business development, and technology commercialization, working with industry, governments and researchers, developing strategies and strengthening relationships between partners. Contact: Len Bykowski, Executive Director, BioProducts Alberta, (780) 425-3815.

Library of Parliament reopens

In November 2003, Summit featured an article, “From the past, for the future” on the closing of the Library of Parliament for extensive renovations and what would be involved in the overall repairs and modernization of the building and the efforts that Public Works and Government Services Canada would make to find the right craftsmen, conservationists and restoration architects to help preserve its heritage. The wraps went on in 2002 and the doors opened to the refurbished Library May 30, 2006. On June 12 it was open for business.

The Library, built from plans by architects, Thomas Fuller and Chilion Jones, first opened in 1876 and is situated overlooking the Ottawa River. According to the Parliamentary website, the Library was “modelled on the Reading Room of the British Museum… this distinctive circular structure features a ring of sixteen flying buttresses, pinnacles, decorative windows and beautiful ornamental ironwork. The Library building is crowned by a circular lantern.” Alpheus Todd, the first Librarian of Parliament, suggested the Library should be separated from the Centre Block to protect it from fire, and it was – by iron doors and a narrow corridor. As a result the Library was the only section of the original Parliament Buildings that survived the 1916 fire that struck the Centre Block. Unfortunately, in 1952 the Library suffered a fire in its dome that burned for 10 hours, causing extensive damage to the contents and building.

The interior of the Library is primarily beautifully carved pine. The intricate workmanship is a delight to the eyes. However, despite the beauty of the Library, it needed major repairs and upgrading for it to preserve its beauty, and be functional well into the future. Not only the masonry, windows, copper roofing and visible interior needed attention, the hidden elements such as electrical wiring or plumbing also needed attention.

Within a budget of over $136 million, the Library’s existing electrical, mechanical and communication systems were upgraded to support current and future equipment and technology demands, such as computers and fax and photocopy machines, and to create proper storage conditions for the Library’s collection as well as improve the facilities for staff, clients, and public tours. Every aspect of the building was rehabilitated in an environmentally responsible manner – from the weathervane to the basements. The building was stabilized and seismically upgraded, and three new basements were created: two for the collections and support areas, and one for the new mechanical systems that control air quality, humidity and other indoor environmental elements.

Museum pilots interactive technology

The Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa has piloted Flick Software’s updated version of its Mobile Interactive Guide, which, when coupled with a handheld device, enables the museum to tailor content and customize experiences to suit each visitor, including the telling of multiple stories around exhibits. Museum visitors will have fun interacting with the various exhibits and artefacts on display, accessing interactive maps, exploring feedback options and quizzes, and providing post-visit email reviews.

Smithers Airport runway extension key to economic growth

With a $1.4 million contribution from the Province of BC (over 30 per cent of the total project cost) helping to secure funding from other partners, the Town of Smithers will extend the Smithers Airport runway by 50 percent to 7,500 feet, allowing the airport to accommodate a greater variety and size of jet aircraft. Navigation aids and airport security will also be upgraded to handle the increased traffic.

Increased tourism and economic development are important to support communities affected by the mountain pine beetle, which is rapidly spreading throughout the interior of British Columbia and beyond, devastating the future of the forestry industry. According to the news release, “the project is expected to create over 300 direct jobs in the region and an estimated $60-million increase in economic output by 2010. A number of new projects, from the $30-million Ski and Ride Smithers resort to mining developments like Kemess, Red Chris and Nova Gold, depend on increased airport capacity to bring in tourists and skilled workers.”

Elkford BC installs SolarBee clean water technology

The District of Elkford is located within the Rocky Mountains in southeastern British Columbia. According to a late May news release, “it recently installed a solar powered circulator known as the SolarBee in one primary cell of the community’s sewer lagoon system, negating the need to add chemicals to its liquid waste sewage lagoons, reducing maintenance costs and virtually eliminating all hydro costs. The SolarBee also creates an odour cap, reduces sludge build up, and produces a better quality effluent.

To enable the unit to function in Canadian winters, the impeller shaft is located inside a Teflon sleeve that is filled with oil, which allows the impeller shaft to continue to rotate even if the water freezes. The solar panels are also adjustable to compensate for low angle solar radiation in the winter months and to assist in shedding snow.

An alternate shore power source allows the unit to continue operating even if solar power is interrupted. If the shore power source operates continuously, the SolarBee would cost the District approximately $10/month. The District estimates that the SolarBee will pay for itself in just over two years, and then the District will save approximately $20,000 a year. The District plans to purchase a second SolarBee in 2007 for the other primary cell in the sewer lagoon system. For additional information on this technology visit http://solarbee.com,” or contact Director of Engineering and Development Services, Iain Bell, at (250) 865-2241.

New Brunswick buildings recognized for being “green”

In late May, five of New Brunswick's new green buildings were recognized for energy performance and efficiency-in-building design under the Government of Canada's Commercial Building Incentive Program (CBIP) for new buildings: the Department of Transportation maintenance depot (Lameque), two Department of Natural Resources district ranger offices (Bathurst and Florenceville), the Complexe Scholaire de Moncton, and an elementary school in Bathurst.

According to the news release, “CBIP, which operates through Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency, encourages the design and construction of new, energy-efficient commercial, institutional and multi-unit residential buildings and facilities. It provides design assistance and funding of up to $60,000 per eligible building project, based on energy savings. An eligible building design must demonstrate a reduction in energy use of at least 25 percent when compared with the requirements of the Model National Energy Code for Buildings. The five building projects registered by the province with the CBIP received a total of about $150,000 in federal funding based on reduced energy-use rates of between 28 to 60 percent.” For more information contact Communications Officer, Judy Cole, at (506) 457-7903.

San Francisco moves to B20 biodiesel

In late May 2006 San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom, issued an executive directive – he city’s diesel fleet will move to B20, a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel, with 100 percent of the fleet transitioned by December 31, 2007. Several other city departments already use B20. Biodiesel is a renewable diesel fuel made from soybean oil or other domestic fats and vegetable oils. It can be used in any diesel engine with few or no modifications, and can be blended with petroleum diesel at any level. San Francisco now has more than 800 alternative fuel vehicles in its fleets.

As well, the San Francisco Fire Department has initiated a six-month pilot program to test and monitor the use of B20 in two fire trucks, six engines and one ambulance. If the program is successful, the Fire Department will also expand the use of biodiesel (www.biodiesel.org).

Joint emergency preparedness program supports Manitoba communities

The latest round of Joint Emergency Preparedness Program (JEPP) grants will see over $150,000 in emergency management investments made in 11 Manitoba rural municipalities (RM), communities and community-based organizations to improve emergency response capacity:

  • RM of East St. Paul - emergency backup power supply and emergency operations centre equipment;
  • RM of Grey - emergency generator and telecommunications equipment;
  • City and RM of Dauphin - transfer switches for emergency backup to emergency operations centre;
  • RM of Brokenhead and Town of Beausejour - backup generator and transfer switch;
  • Village of Benito - emergency backup power for emergency operations centre;
  • RM of Springfield - emergency management education materials;
  • RM of Reynolds - emergency operations centre furnishings and telecommunications equipment, and emergency management education materials;
  • RM of Altona - weather warning system;
  • City of Brandon - exercise funding;
  • City of Winnipeg - mass casualty triage bedding and emergency operations centre telecommunications equipment; and
  • Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team - Manitoba Division - transportation and animal care equipment.

JEPP, set up in October 1980 to support community management of emergencies and to ensure a reasonably uniform emergency response and recovery capacity across Canada, provides 50/50 cost sharing for approved emergency management projects submitted by municipalities. In addition a joint federal-provincial investment through the Office of the Fire Commissioner of over $95,000 will help improve urban search and rescue. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada administers JEPP. Provincial and territorial governments propose projects for JEPP support on an annual basis. Projects are selected for funding based on national and regional priorities. More information is available at ww3.psepc.gc.ca/info_pro/fact_sheets/general/FA_joint_emer_X_e.asp.

London, Ontario tests emergency response products and services

London’s public sector institutions and community agencies are working together to prepare for, respond to, and manage emergencies. Steps taken so far include:

  • Began the process of reviewing and discussing the emergency plans of each organization. Each organization’s Chief Administrative Officer will work to move forward with efforts to ensure coordinated action and immediate response in emergency situations.
  • Development of pilot programs for products from Wallace Wireless and Keigan Systems to advance new technological innovations that will assist in improving early warning and communications as well as coordinate a unified emergency response – utilizing the Blackberry handheld.
  • Establishment of a partnership with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, an affiliate of the University of Western Ontario and a partner of the insurance industry to help understand potential losses and develop mitigation and prevention strategies as well as prediction models for catastrophes.

Ontario fleet managers share experience at Green Fleet Expo

In mid-May the cities of Hamilton and Toronto, and Fleet Challenge Ontario hosted the first annual Green Fleet Expo, organized to give fleet managers an opportunity to learn about “green” technology, network with peers and share experiences they’ve had incorporating environmentally-friendly technologies and practices into their fleets.

Both Toronto and Hamilton are in the process of implementing green fleet transition plans, which would replace fossil fuel burning vehicles with environmentally friendly alternatives. The cities gave a presentation on creating and implementing a green fleet plan. Participants from across Ontario had the opportunity to test drive vehicles and learn first hand about new and emerging technologies such as hybrid, biodiesel and natural gas. For more information contact Chris Hill, manager of Hamilton’s Central Fleet, Public Works Department at 905-546-2424 ext. 4593.

Alberta adopts “green” building standard for new provincial buildings

In an effort to balance environmental considerations with the cost of new construction, Alberta has chosen the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver standard for the design of new government-funded buildings, which will reduce a new buildings’ impact on the environment, conserve energy and save taxpayers money. Five Alberta government buildings currently under construction have been designed to meet the LEED Silver standard: Calgary Courts Centre, the park office/visitor centre at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, the expansion to Tyrell Field Station at Dinosaur Provincial Park, the interpretive centre at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, and the Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation at Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park. Alberta’s existing government buildings already use green power.

Ottawa’s Montfort Hospital chooses construction firm

EllisDon Construction, chosen from a short list of qualified bidders, has been contracted to build the expansion of the Montfort Hospital in Ottawa, effectively doubling the size of the hospital. Two new wings will be added as well as a facility specifically to treat members of the Canadian Armed Forces, and renovations will be done to existing facilities. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2009. BMO Bank of Montreal is leading a syndicate to provide financing for the project. Caisse centrale Desjardins and RBC Capital Markets, the corporate and investment banking arm of Royal Bank of Canada are also members of the syndicate.

Quebec town successfully converts truck to run on waste vegetable oil

The Town of Rosemère, Quebec, has successfully converted a diesel-operated truck into one powered by vegetable oil, allowing toxic emissions from the vehicle to be reduced by 80 percent. This project favoured the reuse of matter, such as waste frying oil, whose treatment might otherwise be difficult. Once filtered and ready to use, frying oil costs just half the price of diesel, and delivers the same performance. EcoBio Innovations is the supplier behind this conversion. According to the news release, a new tank was added to the vehicle to hold the waste oil and “as this fuel congeals at low temperatures, the tank is equipped with a system designed to heat its contents. As a result, the motor must be turned on using diesel fuel while the vegetable oil attains the temperature required to take over. As of that moment, however, there are no longer any polluting emissions.” For more information contact Michel Girouard at (450) 621-3500 ext 243.

Caraquet, New Brunswick gets new nursing home

The construction of a new $10.4-million nursing home in Caraquet, New Brunswick was officially launched in early May 2006. It will have 67 beds, – 5 are for palliative care – and be equipped with more storage rooms, better kitchen facilities, better facilities for dining and recreation activities, and an improved ventilation system. The new building replaces the current facility, built in 1967. Other nursing-home projects announced include Shippagan, Robertville, Tracadie-Sheila, Moncton, Gagetown, Saint John, Fredericton, Quispamsis and Woodstock. New Brunswick nursing homes are owned by non-profit organizations and are operated by boards of directors. Currently, 61 nursing homes in New Brunswick offer services to more than 4,000 seniors and adults.

PEI highway receives funding for improvements

The Government of Canada and the Government of Prince Edward Island (PEI), through the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF), have committed up to $7.5 million and $10.9 million respectively towards improvements on Route 2, between Summerside and Charlottetown. Route 2 is known as the Veterans Memorial Highway and is part of the national highway system.

Specific upgrades on Route 2 include the reconstruction of 12.7 km of the highway and building paved shoulders, climbing lanes and turning lanes, and the rehabilitation of over 9.5 km, as well as changing a non-signalized T intersection into a roundabout with improvements to grade and alignments. For more information about federal and Prince Edward Island infrastructure initiatives, visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca or www.gov.pe.ca/go/infrastructure.

Cape Breton hospital upgrades emergency facilities

The Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, Nova Scotia, opened in 1995 as the main referral centre for the Cape Breton District Health Authority, and the trauma centre for emergencies. Originally designed to accommodate about 34,000 patient visits per year, the emergency department now handles about 50,000. Renovations to the emergency area will cost $5.3 million – shared by the Department of Health (75 percent) and the Cape Breton District Health Authority (25 percent) over three years – and will include: “the addition of cardiac examination and observation rooms, a patient transfer entrance, changes to the nursing station, trauma area improvements, more observation beds, consultation rooms for mental health services, a revised triage area and changes to the emergency ambulance entrance.”

DND contracts for support services at Alert

The Canadian military has successfully contracted out supply chain support in Bosnia and now, in a continuing effort to cut operating costs, it is planning to contract out support services at Canadian Forces Station Alert. DND will begin seeking bids for contractors to run the kitchen, accommodations, buildings and vehicles in June. Alert is located on northern Ellesmere Island, a little over 800 kilometres from the North Pole. Beginning in November 2006, the military would like to replace almost half of the military support personnel at the station with contract workers. During the “cold war” period, about 250 military personnel were stationed in Alert. Most were there to maintain and operate the communications equipment used for spying; others were there to gather intelligence and others were there to provide the support, like the cooks. With the advent of modern technology, only eight people are now required to maintain the equipment and no one needs to be on site to gather the intelligence. It is not necessary for support personnel, like the cooks to actually be military members; DND thinks contractors could do as good a job and do it cheaper than the current cost to the department. And, because fewer people require less space, the military plans to shut down the heat to some of the buildings during the winter, saving on fuel costs.

Nova Scotia invests in water treatment infrastructure

The Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program and the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund is funding water treatment upgrades throughout the province of Nova Scotia. Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations administer the fund. Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation and the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities are members of the management committee. Water quality will be improved and meet Nova Scotia’s drinking water standards.

  • Phase two of the regional Port Hawkesbury sewage treatment system and the Port Hastings water distribution project includes completion of the wastewater collection system for Port Hastings and the Town of Port Hawkesbury, the completion of the regional sewage treatment plant, and water transmission, distribution and storage for Port Hastings.
  • Yarmouth County projects include the design and construction of a solid waste material recovery facility with a capacity of 2,600 tonnes per year and a design capacity of 52,000 tonness over 20 years; 39 homes will become serviced by a municipal sewer system; and the storm water and sanitary sewer will be separated, helping to eliminate overflow of the sewage treatment plant during flood conditions.
  • In Canso, the projects include the design and construction of a new water treatment plant, a treatment process waste disposal system and upgrades to the transmission and storage.
  • Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) is being funded for five projects, with each level of government contributing one-third of the cost of each project. “The CBRM projects include the design and construction of a collection and treatment system in Dominion, a new sewer interceptor main along the south side of Sydney Harbour, a new collection system and treatment of wastewater in Little Bras d’Or, upgrades to water and wastewater services in Sydney Mines, and the installation of individual grinder pumps and a forcemain in New Victoria and Reserve Mines.”
  • Orangedale, Inverness County will have a new water system, including replacing the existing water treatment plant. “There will be six kilometres of a transmission main, which will deliver treated water to more than 80 households and a home for special care.”
  • Lower South River and St. Andrews, Antigonish County received funding to “assist in the design and construction of a new water supply, storage, treatment and distribution system.”
  • Almost 30 new households in Middle Sackville will be connected to the municipal water and wastewater system, and the drinking water quality will improve in the community. The project includes the design and construction of the extension of municipal water and sewer systems to the Lively subdivision in Middle Sackville. – replacinge an aging local system.
  • The Liverpool and surrounding area projects include the construction of a new water treatment plant. “The project will also improve fire protection and will decrease the amount of water lost through leakage and inefficient plant operations.”

The City of Ottawa audits its P3 projects

The City of Ottawa's Auditor-General, Alain Lalonde, will review two of the city’s public-private partnership (P3) projects – a paramedic headquarters in the downtown area and a recreation centre in the west end of the city. He will focus on the quality of the agreements in terms of service levels, whether the agreements provide “best value” for the city government and taxpayers, and also on how the city monitors the service delivery. P3 contracts, which are often complex deals, are seen to be a tool that allows a government to deliver infrastructure or a service that it might not otherwise be able to afford when it is needed. Ottawa has a dedicated group of people in its strategic delivery unit who work on P3-type projects and have delivered several including the Bell SensPlex, the dome at the Hornet’s Nest soccer field, and the Ray Friel Recreation Centre.

Gatineau, Quebec improves water front area

The National Capital Commission (NCC, www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca) and the Ville de Gatineau (www.ville.gatineau.qc.ca) have targeted more than $32 million for improvements to Jacques-Cartier Street and the surrounding area, located on the north shore of the Ottawa River in Gatineau. The NCC contributed $6,050,000 for this project in 1996 and an additional $10 million in May. Gatineau will match the contribution.

Closely aligned with the guidelines of Gatineau’s newly adopted urban plan, and following public consultations, the project will provide public access to the river shore and enhance the sector for residents and visitors with the development of pathways, rest areas and green spaces along the river shore; the addition of community docks; and modifications to parking and a service lane will be made. The project should be completed by 2012.

From garbage to useable energy

The City of Ottawa recently finalized its contract with Plasco Energy Group, which will create energy from garbage at the Trail Road Landfill. Plasco has been developing its plasma technology to produce a synthetic gas from household waste for 30 years. The gas can be used to produce renewable electricity, which Hydro Ottawa has agreed to purchase at market rates. If the project proves to be viable financially, Plasco will then seek other municipal customers, as cities across the country seek solutions for the lack of landfill space.

Ontario contracts with Aecon for major road construction

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation awarded Aecon Group Inc. a $40.8 million contract to widen Highway 401 from four lanes to six on an 11 km stretch between Oxford Road 2 (formerly Hwy 2) and Highway 403; to conduct bridge maintenance work on three overpasses near Woodstock, Ontario; and to rehabilitate one overpass and rebuild the superstructure of two others.

According to the late April news release, “Aecon is the general contractor on the project and will self perform all of the grading and granular work, sewer placement, paving and structure rehabilitation work on the project. Work will begin almost immediately and is scheduled for completion in late 2006.” This contract follows the earlier announcement of a $37.5 million contract to Aecon to widen Toronto’s toll highway, the 407 ETR, between Highway 427 and Highway 404.

BC funds inter-library access

The Province of British Columbia is providing $3.25 million in funding to public libraries to expand the province’s OneCard program. The OneCard program gives British Columbians access – with just one card – to materials at any participating library in the province. According to the news release, when fully operational, “OneCard will enable library patrons to register their library card in their home community and use it to check out materials from other participating libraries. Patrons will also be able to return materials to any participating library in BC. The OneCard program is already up and running on the Lower Mainland and on parts of the Sunshine Coast, and government’s goal is to have public libraries throughout B.C. on the OneCard system by 2008. “

Participation is voluntary, but funding only applies to those who will launch the system. The funding will help libraries acquire the necessary technology and help cover the costs of additional staff, the increased handling of the books and materials, and the postage needed to return the materials to the source library.

Alberta Works pilots debit card program to deliver benefits

Convenience for clients and streamlined administration are key goals of a pilot project that uses debit cards and direct deposit to deliver Alberta Works benefits.

During the six-month pilot period, students attending NorQuest College in Edmonton, Wetaskiwin, or Drayton Valley, can receive their Alberta Works living allowance instantly, through either using a debit card or direct deposit. No more standing in line to collect their benefits! Other Alberta Works clients in Edmonton (in the city centre) who have a bank account may also get their financial assistance through direct deposit; those without a bank account, getting one-time emergency assistance still receive their benefits through the traditional cheque. With the debit card, clients have access to a provincial account from which they can draw only the amount of their benefit. The debit card and direct deposit options offer some advantages over traditional benefits delivery modes:

  • quicker delivery of benefits;
  • increased security for clients;
  • less administration for institutions and government; and
  • the elimination of cheque-cashing fees.

The Government of Canada selects MultiCorpora software and systems

MultiCorpora was recently chosen for a major contract with the Department of National Defence for a Terminology and Translation Software Suite. Now, following a worldwide selection process, the company has been chosen to implement a Translation Memory Management Software System for the Translation Bureau. The Translation Bureau is an entity within Public Works and Government Services Canada and is one of the largest translation agencies in the world, with approximately 1,300 system users in 60 offices.

Ontario and the 407 ETR toll road reach an agreement

According to the news release: “In May 1999, the previous Ontario government sold Highway 407 to 407 International Inc. for $3.1 billion. The resulting lease on the highway carries a 99-year term - lasting until the year 2098.

With 92 years left on the lease, the [current] Ontario government has been fighting hard on its commitment to better protect the public interest under the contract. To do that [the Ontario governemt has] aggressively pursued a number of legal proceedings over that last three years.

Visit http://files.newswire.ca/6/mto.pdf to view the settlement agreement.


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