In the News Archive
September 2006

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Grande Prairie gets a community energy system

In mid August, Aquatera Utilities Inc received a $95,000 Green Municipal Fund (GMF) grant to establish a community energy system (CES) in Grande Prairie, Alberta (www.cityofgp.com). Based on a previously funded GMF feasibility study, Aquatera (www.aquatera.ca) will undertake, with the assistance of FVB Energy Inc., the business development work required including securing access to the heat source; establishing a business model to build, market, and operate the district heating system; and developing a marketing strategy to attract potential customers.

A full-scale CES will be capable of distributing heat to approximately 30 buildings - including public municipal and provincial facilities, schools and the hospital - located close to the heat source, a recently completed biomass-fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) plant owned by Canadian Gas & Electric.

The Green Municipal Fund (www.sustainablecommunities.fcm.ca) supports partnerships and leveraging of both public and private sector funding to reach higher standards of air, water and soil quality, and climate protection.

St. John’s, Newfoundland gets new sports facility

The Canada/Newfoundland and Labrador Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF) will invest $4 million in a first-class, year round, training centre. The federal and provincial share is $2 million each. The City of St. John’s will provide $1.3 million and the $1 million balance is being provided by Sport Newfoundland and Labrador, the Swilers Rugby Club and other fundraising partners.

The facility will be constructed in St. John’s, in proximity to existing sports infrastructure. It will consist of two facilities: a new building that will house a boxing/combat room, locker/shower rooms, and a gymnasium large enough to accommodate four basketball courts; and an extension to the adjacent Swilers Rugby Club will include a strength and conditioning room, a multi-purpose meeting room and three small offices.

Government of Canada redefines advertising and public opinion research

The government of Canada is amending the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada to strengthen accountability and oversight in government operations. “The amendments are another step to ensure transparency, fairness and value for money in the bidding process for public opinion research and advertising -- two key tools for government to listen and communicate with Canadians.”

The government is amending the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada to:

  • provide written public opinion research reports and to make them available to the public through the Library of Parliament and Library and Archives Canada within six months of the completion of fieldwork;
  • add a statement emphasizing that the bidding process for contracting of public opinion research and advertising activities must be open, fair and transparent; and
  • include a new definition of advertising to distinguish it from non-paid messages such as public service announcements and from collateral services such as public relations and events management.

According to the news release background material, “The amended policy includes a new definition of advertising that distinguishes advertising from collateral services. It now reads: ‘any message, conveyed in Canada or abroad, and paid for by the government for placement in media such as newspapers, television, radio, Internet, cinema and out-of-home.’ This definition excludes collateral materials such as counter displays, unpaid public service announcements, as well as communications and public relations activities.

The modified policy and related procedures is available online at www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/sipubs/comm/siglist_e.asp.

CITT launches secure e-filing service

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) launched a new secure e-filing service that will allow parties to file electronically both public and confidential documents with the Tribunal (www.citt-tcce.gc.ca). All documents will be encrypted to ensure confidentiality. The service, which can be accessed on the Tribunal’s website, utilizes the government of Canada’s epass system, which allows the secure transmission of business confidential information. The CITT is maintaining its prohibition against the transmission of documents containing third-party confidential information by e-mail and facsimile. Public documents can still be filed by e-mail or facsimile directly with the Secretary of the Tribunal.

The Guideline on the Designation, Protection, Use and Transmission of Confidential Information has been updated to reflect this new service (www.citt-tcce.gc.ca/publicat/Conf_Info_e.asp). For further information, please contact the office of the secretary at (613) 993-3595, or send an e-mail to secretary@tcce-citt.gc.ca.

Edmonton police station gets gold environmental award

The Southeast Division Police Station in Edmonton is the first police station in North America to achieve gold-level LEED® certification – an award that recognizes environmental excellence – and one of only 17 buildings across Canada to achieve gold-level LEED® certification.

LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) recognizes building projects that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability by meeting higher performance standards in environmental responsibility and energy efficiency.

Developed by the US Green Building Council, the LEED Green Building Rating System® is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. Four levels of certification (certified, silver, gold, platinum) distinguish building projects that have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability by meeting higher performance standards in environmental responsibility and energy efficiency. For more information, see www.usgbc.org.

Moncton utilizes mobile technology to assess city street conditions

Moncton became the first city in the Maritimes to use a van, equipped with the latest high-speed data collection technology, to evaluate the condition of pavement on its streets. The data collected will enable city engineering staff to establish a priority rating system for repairing Moncton streets.

The vehicle will analyze the surface of the pavement; determine the roughness index of streets; locate cracks, bumps and patches; and help target the extent of damage and precise location of spots in need of repair. Data collection would not affect traffic as the vehicle travels at normal traffic speeds. Jean-Guy Léger can be contacted at 506-383-6713.

Winnipeg updates parking meters

The Winnipeg Parking Authority has started to replace its stock of 2,500 rusted, broken and obsolete parking meters with up to 300 modern pay stations. One pay station takes the place of about eight parking meters. Each new machine costs $14,500, which is equal to the cost of replacing eight individual parking meters at the current price of $1,800 per meter. The project will be self-funded through the Parking Authority.

According to the news release, the “machines are similar to those commonly in use in off street lots in Winnipeg. Parkers use a coin or credit card to purchase a receipt, and display the receipt on the dash of their vehicle. Enforcement officers check the receipt to ensure time has been paid for.

The technology is more efficient, increasing the amount of usable curb-side space by 10 percent, the equivalent of 250 stalls, and reducing the number of enforcement tags issued. They also provide an opportunity to change the old parking meter post into an attractive bicycle parking ring, and improve the ability of the Public Works Department to remove snow accumulations in the winter. The machines do not accept payment during rush hour times and free parking times, and so there is no temptation to pay a meter and receive a tag or tow.

Ottawa awards light rail contract

In mid-July 2006, Ottawa City Council awarded the fixed price contract for the design, construction and 15-year maintenance of the North-South Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project to the Siemens-PCL/Dufferin Team. The system is scheduled to be in full operation by the spring of 2010.

The fixed price for the construction and design of the base LRT project is $654.2 million. The total cost of the project is $778.2 million, which includes the extension to the Barrhaven area. The yearly operating cost of the project will be $15.9 million when completed. The City of Ottawa will fund its portion of the cost through provincial gas tax revenues, development charges and other sources, and the federal and provincial governments are contributing $400 million in total.

The new system includes a 29.4 km route, 22 electrified vehicles and 23 stations. For information about the LRT project, including the designs and details about the contract, visit ottawa.ca/lrt or contact corporate communications at 613-580-2450.

Brockton, Ontario awards water and wastewater treatment services to Veolia Water Canada

On July 12, 2006, the Municipality of Brockton, Ontario announced a partnership with Veolia Water Canada (www.veoliawaterna.com) that will unify water and wastewater services under a common contract. Veolia Water will manage, operate and maintain the municipality's water and wastewater systems, including a 1.98-million-gallon-per-day wastewater plant, three water treatment plants and related collection and distribution systems under a five-year contract valued at approximately $470,000 per year. This system serves approximately 10,000 residents in southwestern Ontario. Billing cycles and processes will remain consistent with the community's current practices.

The Municipality of Brockton includes the former Township of Brant, Township of Greenock and the Town of Walkerton.

British Columbia doubles highway webcams

Over 40 new webcams are now online, in addition to the 16 that existed previously. The webcams are set up at key transportation locations around British Columbia and send real-time images that can be viewed from the Drive BC road reports site at www.drivebc.ca or the Ministry of Transportation’s website at www.th.gov.bc.ca. The technology is intended to improve road safety for travellers.

The Web camera images range from rural highways, where weather and highway conditions may change quickly, to Lower Mainland highways, where motorists may check traffic volumes before leaving on their commute. The webcams are a joint initiative of the Ministry of Transportation and Transport Canada.

The Highway webcams website includes several new features to help travellers and other users:

  • a "My HighwayCams" feature that allows you to build your own Web page of the cameras you view most often;
  • clickable maps with camera locations and directions; and
  • a new information page, to answer some of the most frequently asked webcam questions.

Maple Ridge Green Fleet Team scores

At a budgeted cost of $400,000, the District of Maple Ridge in British Columbia has replaced several of its older, less fuel efficient vehicles with 12 hybrids: 9 Toyota Prius’ and three Ford Escapes. Maple Ridge’s Green Fleet Team had a goal of reducing municipal costs and also greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). As a result of introducing hybrid vehicles into its fleet, Maple Ridge anticipates a GHG reduction of about 2 tonnes per vehicle and a fuel savings of $1,100 per vehicle. According to the news release, The Green Fleet Team also “negotiated corporate sponsorship that includes green messaging on each of the vehicles that translates into maintenance credits with the manufacturers.” For more information, contact Russ Carmichael at 604-467-3528 or rcharmichael@mapleridge.org.

New Brunswick broadband project completed

The New Brunswick Broadband Initiative was completed in late June, six months ahead of schedule. The project to provide all regional health care centres, business parks and First Nations communities, as well as most New Brunswick residences and businesses, with access to high-speed Internet service resulted from the collaboration between the governments of Canada and New Brunswick and Aliant Inc. The government of Canada, through the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund, provided up to $16.5 million, New Brunswick invested $12.5 million and Aliant invested $15.6 million.

OPP and MTO introduce new e-ticketing technology

In late June 2006, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) introduced new e-ticketing technology that changes the way provincial offence notices (PON) and commercial vehicle inspection reports (CVIR) are created and issued. The e-ticketing/reporting software is being implemented and tested in mobile workstation-equipped cruisers at the Toronto Detachment. The new roadside data capture computer programs permit OPP and MTO enforcement officers to enter and create e-PONs and e-CVIRs. The ability to create an e-PON will help in eliminating illegible hand writing issues and significantly reduce errors in the creation of the notices, and also reduce processing costs of default notices. There will be less confusion on the part of defendants in understanding the charge and their options to address them.

The real time creation of an e-CVIR (electronic completion, issuance and updating of a commercial vehicle inspection report) will speed up the input of data thus reducing the repeated, unintentional selection and stopping of commercial vehicles for inspection. The technology also allows OPP and MTO enforcement officers to view e-CVIRs online and take appropriate action against non-compliant carriers.

Hydro-Québec to use only forest-friendly paper

In early July, Hydro-Québec announced that in an effort to help protect the boreal forest, it is amending its procurement practices to ensure that it purchases only chlorine-free FSC-certified 100 percent recycled paper for its printing and copying needs – roughly 650 tonnes of paper a year. This environmentally responsible policy will help save 11,000 trees and 20 million litres of water a year. This new policy is to be in effect at all Hydro-Québec facilities as of 2007. According to the news release, “Hydro-Québec is planning to adopt the same requirement for disposable paper over the next five years, as procurement contracts are renewed. As soon as the technology is available, the utility intends to extend the use of forest-friendly paper to all its business operations.”

Town of Newmarket teams with Honeywell to conserve energy

The Town of Newmarket and Honeywell will partner in a $1.5 million, nine-year project to implement an energy retrofit program that will help upgrade the town’s facilities, lower utility costs and decrease greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

Once completed, Newmarket anticipates savings of $157,000 annually in operating costs and reduced GHGs by an estimated 563 tonnes per year.

According to the news release, “Newmarket will finance the improvements – which include lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation and building control upgrades – out of the energy and operational savings they generate. Those savings are guaranteed by Honeywell under an energy performance contract with the town. This ensures the work will not impact capital budgets or require additional taxpayer dollars.

In particular, Honeywell will install a low-emissivity ceiling at the Ray Twinney Complex designed to reduce heat radiation from the ceiling. The company will also redesign lighting systems and install automatic controls in all municipal offices, weather-seal facilities to reduce heating and cooling loss, and install various low-flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water consumption. In addition, the building automation system that controls heating, cooling and ventilation will be expanded to allow for better temperature control. These upgrades will result in reduced electricity, natural gas and water consumption. The program also includes communication and awareness initiatives to ensure that energy conservation will have a lasting effect on town staff and the community as a whole.”

Several other municipalities in Canada are using the same partnering formula – performance contracts – to achieve their energy efficiency and GHG reduction goals. See Summit, September 2006 “Green begins at home.”

Environment Canada supports local eco-action projects

The EcoAction Community Funding program is an Environment Canada initiative that supports projects that protect, rehabilitate or enhance the natural environment, and builds the capacity of communities and individuals in support of a more sustainable Canada. In mid-July, the Minister of the Environment, announced over $2.8 million in funding from the EcoAction Community Funding program for 101 environmental projects will assist locally-based, non-profit organizations in initiating actions that result in cleaner air, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner water, and the protection of habitat and species at risk at the local community level. The next submission deadline for proposals to the EcoAction program is October 1, 2006. For more information contact Ryan Sparrow, Associate Director of Communications at (819) 997-1441.

BizPaL teams win awards

The Yukon’s BizPaL staff – Debra Amson, Kathy Ledyit, Marlene Crawford, and Dale Kozmen – received the federal government’s Public Service Award of Excellence for their leadership in the development and implementation of BizPaL.

BizPaL is a Web-based service that reduces the regulatory burden placed on business clients by allowing them to easily generate a customized list of all government permits and licences that they are required to have to start up or grow a business enterprise. (See Summit, June 2005) The Yukon BizPaL service is available by visiting www.bizpal.ca and www.bizpal.gov.yk.ca and www.city.whitehorse.yk.ca websites.

Don Garrish, Alex Kerr, Andrew Swetlishoff and David Trawin from the City of Kamloops, Mike Kelley and Patrick Deakin who work for the Province of British Columbia and Amy Elgie of Small Business BC, a non-profit agency providing services to small businesses in British Columbia have also received the Public Service Award of Excellence for their work piloting and implementing BizPaL in Kamloops. Over the next several months, the Province of British Columbia will be actively seeking the participation of other local BC governments to offer the BizPaL service.

Sydney Tar Ponds Agency will re-tender cooling pond cleanup

The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency will issue new tender documents for the cleanup of the former Sydney Steel Cooling Pond that will reflect recommendations of the independent panel that reviewed the environmental impact of the tar ponds and coke ovens cleanup.

According to the news release “the independent review panel made several recommendations about air monitoring, cap design, and solidification and stabilization, the main technology that will be used to clean up the cooling pond. Solidification and stabilization will also be employed in the much larger cleanup of the Sydney Tar Ponds. It uses hardening agents like cement powder to increase the bearing capacity of contaminated sediments, while chemically locking contaminants in place.

The panel urged the agency to conduct a pilot project to evaluate airborne emissions during solidification and stabilization, and to design effective control measures.”

The revised project will be tendered as an aboriginal set-aside where only companies or consortia with majority aboriginal ownership and control will be eligible to bid.

The City of Winnipeg contracts for wireless services

The City of Winnipeg has approved a 28-month contract to MTS Allstream (www.mtsallstream.com) to provide wireless services to the city and its employees. MTS Allstream will provide access to cell phones, wireless PC cards, BlackBerry™ handheld devices, cellular and wireless data airtime and related features. The contract was effective as of August 1, 2006, and concludes November 30, 2008.

New Brunswick and Alberta partner to support bio-economy growth

This summer, Alberta and New Brunswick signed an agreement that calls for the two provinces to cooperate and exchange of information to encourage the development and commercialization of bio-based fuels and energy. According to the news release “the agreement also advocates for a tough, yet responsive, regulatory framework at the national level that will foster growth of the entire bio-economy. Some potential projects might include bio-based products in areas such as high-value aquaculture feed and potatoes. Also resulting from this agreement is a planned workshop that will bring together industry and government to identify potential projects.”

Victoria and area to develop sewage treatment plan

The BC Ministry of Environment has directed the Capital Regional District (CRD), which is includes Victoria and the surrounding area to provide a plan for sewage treatment to the provincial government no later than June 2007. In developing its plan, the CRD is being encouraged to consider new technologies and alternative financing and delivery options, including the potential for private sector involvement.

Currently, the CRD releases its sewage into the ocean untreated, historically relying on water dilution and the ocean currents to deal with the effluent. As recent analysis shows, including the recent Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), historic and projected population growth in the capital region makes natural dilution unsustainable.

BC and IBM partner to deliver Service BC

IBM Canada has been contracted to run the Service BC contact centre – formerly Enquiry BC – which helps people locate government programs and services by telephone and e-mail in multiple languages. A project summary report is posted online at: www.saip.gov.bc.ca/ASD_Projects.htm

According to the news release, IBM “will also bring new resources to the government website, which provides an effective online presence 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Service BC is part of government’s commitment to enhance the delivery of citizen-centered services to the people of British Columbia by providing services online, by phone and in person. IBM Canada will bolster Service BC’s ability to deliver access, using one-stop shopping convenience.

Robertson Telecom Inc., which has successfully operated the primary contact centre since its inception in 1991, will remain as the subcontractor to IBM Canada to ensure a smooth transition that provides the same high level of service to customers.”

Nova Scotia s government’s surplus property someone else’s treasure

Nova Scotia’s surplus Crown property disposal not only returned money to government coffers – $1,702,185 from the sale of surplus property last year – but passed on equipment no longer needed to not-for-profit groups who could use it. The Computers for Schools Program was the main beneficiary in 2005, receiving refurbished computer equipment – 1,760 computers, 1,681 keyboards, 1,678 monitors, 534 printers, and 950 computer mice – worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Non-profit and community groups can apply to receive other surplus equipment. In 2005, thousands of items were donated to 113 non-profit or community organizations. Office furnishings and equipment as well as emergency mobile radio equipment were among the donated items.

The sale of surplus land brought in $1,187,767, and the annual auction of heavy equipment brought in $390,660. Auctions of other surplus equipment raised $202,295. All profits are used to help pay down the provincial debt.

Kingston, Ontario will expand wastewater treatment plant

The province of Ontario and the government of Canada have each provided $25 million to the City of Kingston to expand the Ravensview Water Pollution Control Plant – the largest single capital project (total value estimated at $115 million) by the city in its history. The city will fund the balance remaining. New state-of-the-art filters will improve wastewater treatment and the addition of new facilities will increase the plant's waste management capacity. Upgrades to existing buildings and operations will help improve the plant's performance.

New Brunswick supports renewable-fuel-development project

In early August, the Province of New Brunswick announced an investment of $300,000 to support the establishment of the first plant-based bio-fuel refinery in Atlantic Canada.

According to the news release, the “Bio-Oil Development Centre will be established as a pre-commercial pilot facility by Eastern Greenway Oils Inc. in Waterville, Carleton County, in collaboration with the departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Business New Brunswick, and Environment, as well as with Bio-Atlantech, New Brunswick's lead agency in the development of the life-sciences industry. The refinery will produce bio-diesel fuel additives, industrial oils and other environmentally sustainable products and services.

The project is intended to establish the value-chain parameters for small-scale plant-based bio-fuel production, enabling agricultural producers to become principal players in renewable-fuel development, and in turn provide for additional economic development opportunities in rural communities of the province.” For more information, contact Alain Bryar in New Brunswick’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture department at 506-444-4218.


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