In the News Archive
October 2006

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Orléans, Ontario P3 arts centre development approved

The Orléans Town Centre Partnership, a public-private partnership (P3) led by Forum Leasehold Partners, the company that built the City of Ottawa's new paramedic headquarters, will go forward. The city began seeking a private partner in July 2005, issued an RFP that December and chose Forum in May 2006. In early October, the City Council approved the deal. A detailed concept plan can be found on www.forum-flp.com.

Under the P3, Forum will design and build the new 86,000 square foot Orléans Arts Centre (valued at approximately $37 million), and develop a new town centre on 19 acres of city-owned vacant land in the east side community of Orléans.

The complete project includes the Arts Centre, a hotel, retail and commercial space including two office buildings, a 100-unit seniors home, a 140-unit seniors condominium, and 500 mixed residential units plus green space. The new Arts Centre, which is the centerpiece of the project, features a performing arts theatre that will seat 500, a smaller studio theatre seating 100, an art gallery, and visual arts studio space. More than $220 million will be invested in the three-stage development.

Financial closing is targeted for January 2007, with construction to begin in spring 2007. The Arts Centre should open in late fall/early winter 2008.

The Orléans Town Centre Partnership is led by Forum. For the Art Centre, partners include: Aecon Buildings (www.aecon.com), Lemay + Doyle Architects (www.lemay.qc.ca), and Johnson Controls/BLJC (www.johnsoncontrols.com). To complete the other portions of the project, according to a CNW October 12, 2006 news release:

"Forum has established joint ventures with Phoenix Homes for the residential components, Verdiroc Development Corporation (www.verdiroc.com) for affordable housing, and Kingsway Arms Management Services (www.kingswayarms.com) for the seniors residences and condos."

An article by Patrick Dare (Ottawa Citizen, September 27, 2007) describes how the P3 works.

"The city will hand over its Orleans client service centre building, the former Cumberland township hall, which is worth between $6 million and $8 million, as well as the 19 acres, which is valued at somewhere between $4 million and $6 million. The city will sign a long-term lease with the consortium to continue occupying the Orleans municipal building.

The deal works in three steps:

  • The developers will borrow $27.8 million, backed up by the city's promise of a long-term lease for the space it continues to occupy in the Orleans municipal building.
  • The developers will pay the city $12.1 million for the land and the 70,000-square foot Orleans municipal building, while the city will pay $3.1 million for new roads, sewer work and parks.
  • Finally, the city will lend the developers $9 million, with no interest and principal payment for 30 years. That money - in addition to the loan backed by the 30-year lease - will give the consortium enough money to build the arts centre. At the end of the 30 years, ownership of the arts centre, and the land on which it is built, will revert to the city.

If the total building project doesn't progress for some reason, the city can take back ownership of the land or reduce its financial contribution to the project."

PWGSC contracts review of real estate portfolio

In a move to rejuvenate its real estate portfolio, Public Works recently contracted two investment firms, BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. and RBC Dominion Securities Inc., to review its entire real estate portfolio with the hope of perhaps creating single departmental buildings or, where that was not possible, determining how to keep departments located closely together in fewer buildings. The two banks will examine everything from ownership structure to proper maintenance, to how to implement LEED gold environmental standards. They will look at 35 buildings out of 325 Crown-owned buildings across Canada.

Gemalto to provide 2.5 million national ID cards to the Sultanate of Oman; cards upgraded with e-purse and e-government applications

Source: ICMA Daily News (09/21)

Gemalto announces that the Sultanate of Oman has selected its technology to implement the second phase of the country's national ID program. The contract appoints Gemalto to provide an update of the current National Registration System, integration services, as well as to supply smart ID cards that will enable the Sultanate of Oman to provide faster and more secure public services to its population. The program, scheduled to begin at the end of 2006, involves over 2.5 million national ID cards.

The Sultanate of Oman's national ID card program is the first smart card-based e-government solution ever deployed in the Middle East. It is part of the Sultanate's policy to improve the quality of public service and homeland security infrastructure. Its core objective is to modernize the Sultanate's identification system and processes, making it more efficient and secure, both for government authorities and citizens. As part of this objective, the creation of a National Registry System will become the pillar of all future Omani e-government initiatives. In addition, the Sultanate of Oman is aiming to develop new technical skills within the Royal Oman Police force, the local authority managing the ID program.

The first phase of the ID program, that began in January 2004, has enabled more than 1.2 million Omani citizens and residents to benefit from a secure and convenient identification means that stores personal credentials such as name, address, digital photograph, fingerprints, driving license, etc. In addition to digital identification, electronic gates have been implemented for border control. In the near future, the national ID card will integrate an electronic purse as well as e-government applications.

Gemalto is a member of ACT Canada; visit www.gemalto.com.

Australian state plans a smart card driver's licence

Source: CardTechnology (09/07)

After five years of study, the Australian state of Queensland has decided to replace its 2.5 million driver's licenses with smart cards. The government wants private companies to build and manage the system to minimize the cost to the taxpayers, and has asked that bids be submitted by October 2. Government officials say the smart card will be harder to counterfeit than the current laminated license. They say this will be the first smart card-based driver's license in Australia. While the system will be managed by private companies, the state will retain the database of personal information and photographs of motorists to avoid unauthorized use of that data.

Self-adhesive pavement reinforcement mesh application improved by Kelowna employee

Source: City of Kelowna

Pavement mesh adds the equivalent of two and one half inches of asphalt, which extends the lifespan of a roadway and requires less maintenance than asphalt alone. However, the special vehicle used to apply the mesh is expensive. With the help of welder, Brian Zsoldos, City of Kelowna Equipment Operator Kokorudz built a mesh roll dispenser that mounts to the front of a rubber-tired roller. The gadget costs only $600 to build and turned a four-person job into a one-person job, saving the city labour and equipment costs. Kokorudz's invention garnered Kelowna the Ideas and Gadgets 2006 first-place award at the Public Works Association of BC (PWABC) conference in late September. For more information contact Dale Beaudry, Equipment/Roadways Supervisor, City of Kelowna.

Quesnel, BC wins sustainable development award

Source: City of Kelowna

In 2006 Quesnel, BC won the prestigious second annual Canada Lands Company Sustainable Development Award, which emphasized the efforts of "meeting environmental challenges through cooperative partnerships of industry, government and the citizenry." The award was due in part to the Quesnel Community and Economic Development Corporation's Green City Initiative, which includes the Quesnel Air Quality Roundtable and the Silva Gro nursery and Quesnel River Pulp partnership that allows the nursery to use warm water effluent from the mill for greenhouse heating. Airshed management planning aims to improve air quality. In Quesnel, a multi-stakeholder committee oversees a process with the goal of tackling "virtually all sources of air pollution from back yard residential burning to large industrial sources."

Quesnel is a community of 10,000. It is located in a valley where the Fraser and Quesnel Rivers meet about 120 kilometres south of Prince George. The main industry is forestry, but mining, ranching and tourism also play important roles in the local economy.

Canada Lands Company (CLC) is a federal Crown corporation that works to optimize the financial and community value that could be obtained from properties no longer required by the Government of Canada. The company implements innovative property solutions to enhance the quality of life in communities where it operates. Source: www.clc.ca.

Government of Canada dedicates green office building in Vancouver

In early September 2006, a ceremony held at 401 Burrard, in Vancouver, dedicated an energy-efficient, environmentally friendly office building in honour of Howard Charles Green, a former Cabinet Minister during the Diefenbaker era, who was elected seven times as member of Parliament. According to the news release, "Green was a strong advocate of nuclear disarmament. Under his leadership, Canada became a member of the 10-nation Committee on Disarmament reporting to the United Nations. In 1962, John Diefenbaker referred to Howard Green as "one of the greatest leaders in the field of disarmament and world peace" and someone who had achieved for Canada 'an undisputed place in the field of international affairs and the pursuit of peace for all mankind.' "

The new office tower is one of the greenest in Public Works and Government Services Canada's inventory. Floors and walls were finished with natural materials like cork and sealed concrete, to enhance indoor air quality. Certain floors are equipped with an energy-efficient lighting system that uses up to 60 percent fewer light fixtures and saves up to 80 percent in lighting energy costs. Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are the two principal tenants of the building.

Government of Canada changes Standing Offer for car rentals

Each year Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) solicits discounted, non-commissionable rental rates for passenger vehicles, which would be published in the Government of Canada Car Rental Directory. In the past, approximately 20 car rental companies with 700 locations across Canada and the USA received National Master Standing Offers (NMSOs).

Under the Government of Canada's procurement transformation initiative, this year two Requests for Standing Offer (RFSOs) will be used to solicit the companies to be listed in the Car Rental Program. The first RFSO, aimed towards non-select markets, will essentially be the traditional package. Suppliers in non-select markets will not be consolidated to ensure that small car rental agencies have an equal opportunity of business. The second RFSO is aimed towards select markets, comprised of 16 cities: Calgary, Deer Lake, Edmonton, Fredericton, Gloucester, Halifax, Kamloops, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, St. John's, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg. In the select locations, where Government of Canada usage is the highest, car rental service requirements will be consolidated, the choice of vehicles will be reduced from seven to six and the use of green (hybrid or alternative fuel) vehicles will be promoted. A listing of vehicles and their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels is posted in the Car Rental Directory and government travelers are encouraged to rent greener vehicles. In the select markets, all businesses, regardless of size, that fulfil the mandatory criteria will have an opportunity to compete.

Chinook develops new greener de-icing technology

Chinook Mobile Heating and De-icing recently patented an aircraft de-icing technology and is now moving towards commercialization, having secured needed funding ($1.8 million) from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), a federal non-profit foundation that finances and supports the development and demonstration of clean technologies. In Canada alone, 23 million litres of glycol are dumped on planes every year, contributing to greenhouse gases resulting from the oxidation of unrecovered glycol as well as adversely affecting ground water. Chinook's technology uses tempered steam to melt ice on aircraft surfaces, and then just heated air to dry the surfaces. This process can be done while the plane is at the gate, reducing fuel usage that occurs during engine de-icing operations. This provides operational savings to the airports as well. The prototype is to be built this winter and field tested at different airports next winter.

Alberta seeks its own clean coal technology solution

Alberta's Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) study, a $33 million, three-year, research project, will research the best design for a facility to generate electricity from the province's huge coal reserves while removing significant percentages of emissions. Clean coal technology research is occurring in various jurisdictions, but most of Alberta's coal reserves are a different type of coal. Alberta's sub-bituminous coals have lower sulphur and mercury content, and lower heat value.

The Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI), the Canadian Clean Power Coalition (CCPC) and EPCOR will collaborate on the FEED study. According to the news release, "Using funding allocated under the new Energy Innovation Fund, AERI will provide $11 million, one third of the project costs, over three years. EPCOR and CCPC are responsible for the balance of the funding, and they are inviting participation by other stakeholders." EPCOR will host the study at its Genesee site outside Edmonton. The study will provide members of Canadian Clean Power Coalition, Alberta companies and investors the information needed to decide on whether the construction of a commercial demonstration plant is viable.

North West Territories' Tlicho Community Services Agency receives management award

According to the September news release, "for many years, Tlicho leaders have understood the important link between education, health and social issues in the Tlicho region and the importance of integrating traditional culture into all aspects of community. Governed by a board of community representatives, appointed by the Tlicho Government, the Tlicho Community Services Agency has experienced positive results by combining the management and delivery of health, social and educational programs in Behchoko, Gameti, Wekweeti and Whati." The Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) recognized their achievement and their continued efforts to foster community capacity and partnerships with its Innovative Management award, "first introduced in 1990 by IPAC to identify and publicize success stories worthy of emulation, to foster innovation."

École Polytechnique and partners research drinking water

In September, the École Polytechnique (affiliated with the Université de Montréal) and its partners officially inaugurated the NSERC Industrial Chair on the Treatment and Distribution of Drinking Water. They also unveiled the first mobile unit in Canada dedicated to drinking water treatment research. The mobile laboratory comes equipped with state-of-the-art analytical tools for the detection of emerging contaminants, like pharmaceutical compounds, and allows lab staff to conduct on-site tests and validations of various processes as they effect water quality. The research equipment is funded by Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS). Robert L. Papineau, the executive director of the École Polytechnique de Montréal, and Professors Michèle Prévost and Benoit Barbeau and their teams manage an operating budget of just over $7.3 million, of which the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) provided more than $2.5 million. The city of Montreal invested $1.5 million, the city of Laval invested $300,000 and John Meunier Inc. invested $750,000. John Meunier Inc., a manufacturer of water treatment systems and Canadian subsidiary of the multinational firm, Veolia Water, feels their partnership with the project helps them improve their technologies.

Solutions developed from the research conducted on treating Montreal's water have been shared with the cities of Vancouver and Moncton. According to the news release, "Montreal has benefitted from, among other things, the Chair's work in modifying the hydraulics management of its distribution system, with a view to improving the quality of the water in the system, and optimizing the choice of treatment for repairing its treatment plants. The city of Laval has benefitted from the Chair's work on treatment, which has produced tools to support both operations and decision making. This work has led, in particular, to the development and validation of a biological filtration model for drinking water which functions even in cold water. This model is presently being applied in Laval, Terrebonne and Vancouver, as well as in Sweden and the United States." For more information contact Chantal Cantin, Service des communications et du recrutement, École Polytechnique de Montréal at (514) 340-4711, local 4970 or chantal.cantin@polymtl.ca.

FKI Logistex wins contract with the UK's national library

In late October, 2006 the British Library contracted FKI Logistex® (www.fkilogistex.com) to provide a comprehensive storage and retrieval system to house and safeguard a substantial part of the UK's national collection of books and journals, currently requiring an additional 12.5 km (7.7 miles) of shelving space per year.

According to the news release, the "storage unit will meet The British Library's rigorous requirements, incorporating 262 linear km (163 miles) of high-density, fully automated storage in a low-oxygen environment. Working closely with the Library and its architects, FKI Logistex will supply and integrate an extensive range of customized, high-density storage and retrieval systems into the new-build facility, located on the Library's existing northern site at Boston Spa, West Yorkshire. The new unit meets the environmental and handling standards needed to preserve the collections that the library has committed to keep in perpetuity."

Nepean, Ontario landfill tests new waste management and biofuel development process

Construction started on the Plasco Energy Group demonstration plant at Nepean, Ontario's Trail Road landfill site in late September 2006. The plant, expected to be online by March, will convert solid waste into clean heat in the form of steam; a synthetic gas; and a reusable inert solid, which can then be used as a road or building material. The steam and synthetic gases will be used to generate electricity.

Plasco CEO Rod Bryden says that only 300 grams out of one tonne of waste will require landfill. The plant will process 85 tonnes per day, producing enough power for 4,600 homes without producing any emissions. The project is funded by a Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) contribution of $6.6-million leveraged into $20.4 million by the Plasco-led consortium, which includes the City of Ottawa, and an equity investment of $18 million.

Alberta allocates additional $303.3 million for school infrastructure

As a result of the $303 million funding announcement, 15 new schools and six new major preservation and modernization projects will take place over the next four years. As well, 130 new steel-framed modular classrooms will be purchased this fiscal year. Local school boards, in conjunction with officials from Alberta Education and Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation, will finalize construction details. The investment addresses health and safety concerns and community growth and enrollment changes.

Chatham-Kent Hydro goes ahead with smart metering technology

In mid-September, following an 18-month pilot project that resulted in significant operational improvements and identified potential energy reductions among 1,200 customer participants, the Ontario Ministry of Energy approved Chatham-Kent Hydro's full deployment of smart metering technology. All of C-K Hydro's 32,000 residential and commercial and industrial customers should be activated by December 2007.

According to the president of Chatham-Kent Hydro, TUNet® (Tantalus Utility Network) smart metering technology was chosen after a thorough investigation of leading technologies and rigorous field tests were completed. It proved to be a reliable, end-to-end solution, easily interfacing with C-K Hydro's billing, customer care, and outage management modules and its Meter Data Management/Repository. As well, the network could potentially be shared with other electric, water and gas utilities in the region.

Under Ontario's Smart Metering initiative, all 4.3 million meters in the province must be equipped with advanced metering technology by 2010.

Nova Scotia explores rural broadband service

In late September, the rural communities of Tidnish and Port Howe in northern Nova Scotia were selected for a pilot project that will examine ways to bring high-speed Internet service to rural and remote areas of the province. The pilot should be completed in late 2006.

The Office of Economic Development, providing $430,000 to cover project expenses, will lead the pilot in partnership with the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association and representatives from the Cumberland County communities. A request for proposals, issued September 12, asked for a private sector company to work with the partners on a way to provide viable broadband service.

Prince Edward Island sets a new green energy target

In late September, Prince Edward Island committed to produce 30 percent of its total energy needs from local, renewable resources by 2016, keeping dollars spent on heating and fuel at home and creating new opportunities for Island farmers as well as a healthier environment today and for the future.

The first step will be to produce 10 percent of total energy needs from local renewable resources by 2010. To do that, the province will build on the success of its 2004 renewable energy strategy. According to the news release, electrical utilities in the province were required under the Renewable Energy Act "to acquire 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010; and regulations under the act allow for net metering for small-scale generators; set a minimum price utilities must pay for power produced by large-scale generators; and establish designated development areas for large scale wind projects." Both Maritime Electric and the Summerside Electric Utility will reach or exceed that target well ahead of schedule. Setting targets worked. Now the province will look at other renewable resources such as: biofuels and their use in gasoline and for home heating replacing fossil fuels where possible; biomass and biogas; increasing the electricity generated by wind energy; and, measures to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Other highlights include:

  • "a PEI Wind Atlas was created to identify areas that have the best potential for future wind energy development;
  • the City of Charlottetown implemented a public transit system; and
  • PEI has introduced a provincial sales tax exemption for small scale renewable energy equipment."

For more information on renewable energy in Prince Edward Island, visit the website at www.gov.pe.ca/go/renewables.

University of Northern British Columbia and partners establish pine beetle research lab

The Province of British Columbia is providing $2.5 million to the University of Northern British Columbia to establish a world-leading wood and fibre multi-site research laboratory to find further uses for trees infested by the mountain pine beetle. The pine beetle has destroyed most of the trees in the northern interior part of the province, wreaking havoc within the forestry industry, one of the province's main economic drivers.

According to the news release in late October, "the lab, called EvaluTree, is the result of a partnership between the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), the University of Victoria (UVic) and the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (Paprican). EvaluTree research will assess, to a much greater degree than currently possible, the properties of wood for the pulp and paper, sawmilling and manufacturing industries...

UNBC and UVic specialize in X-ray and acoustic instrumentation and will lead the research program. Paprican's Vancouver laboratory is the base for spectroscopy and microscopy instrumentation and provides a critical link to industry. Paprican is Canada's national not-for-profit, research, development and education facility for the pulp and paper industry. This three-way partnership allows the research to benefit from synergies and facilitates the development of an integrated approach to innovation and development in BC's forest industry."

Guelph installs new advance flasher and buys defibrillators

Guelph, Ontario has installed its first 'advance flasher' at the corner of Eramosa and King streets. The flasher is powered entirely by solar energy and is radio-controlled by wireless technology. The flasher can receive a wireless signal from the new Intersection Pedestrian Signal (IPS) at the corner of Eramosa and Mitchell, one of 24 such pedestrian signals in Guelph. The city is replacing its pedestrian traffic signals with the IPS - a traffic signal designed solely to assist pedestrians in safely crossing an intersection on a major roadway. The traffic on the main street is regulated by the IPS; vehicles approaching from a side street are controlled by stop signs. According to the news release, the "signals are considered safer than traditional pedestrian crossovers because they take the guesswork out of crossings for both pedestrians and drivers. …Once an IPS has been activated, the traffic signal governing motorists on the major roadway turns amber, then red, and the walking person signal appears, giving pedestrians the right of way. Once traffic has stopped, pedestrians can safely cross the roadway." When the new advance flasher is activated by the wireless signal from the IPS, the flashing will give advance notice to drivers that they'll need to stop at a red light ahead. For more information on the advance flasher and IPS contact, Tara Sprigg at (519) 822-1260 ext. 2610 or tara.sprigg@guelph.ca.

In September 2006, the city of Guelph announced it was placing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in recreation and culture facilities to increase the chances of patrons surviving a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). According to the news release, a defibrillator "uses a powerful electric shock to stop abnormal heart rhythm, allowing the heart to return to a more normal beating pattern. Survival rates for SCA are less than two percent when defibrillation is delayed 10 minutes or more." Equipped with programming to analyze the heart's function, the AEDs being installed at Guelph facilities do not require someone to have special knowledge in order to use it and provide critical assistance.

RFP released to study use of rehabilitated Sydney Tar Ponds

In mid-October, Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) issued a request for proposals (RFP) to study potential future uses of the Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens. Over the next eight years, 100 hectares of land will be rehabilitated and this is an opportunity for the community of Sydney, Nova Scotia to have input on how the land will be used. Early development of a future use plan with community support could be key to the successful redevelopment of the land. The study is expected to cost $200,000. The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency and Public Works and Government Services Canada will contribute $100,000 with the remaining funding being contributed by CBRM, other federal landholders and Nova Scotia Lands. A draft report is due six months after the contract is awarded; the final report is due one month later.

Ontario Provincial Police forensic ID unit gets new home

Tillsonburg, Ontario will be home to the new Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Forensic Identification Unit, Community Safety and Correctional. The new facility will bring together under one roof the existing forensic units in London and Simcoe, providing enhanced capacity to handle many of the new forensic technologies now available. The Ontario Realty Corporation will work with the OPP to deliver a facility that meets their requirements. Construction will begin this fall with completion expected in fall 2007.

BC launches AskAway, a virtual online library link to librarians

Ocotber 20th saw the launch of British Columbia's new virtual reference library service, AskAway (www.askaway.org), the result of a partnership between the province and public and post-secondary libraries. BC has provided $530,000 in start-up funding and will contribute $350,000 in ongoing annual funding. Public and post-secondary librarians will staff AskAway. Users will get the information they need from a real librarian in real time using a simple live chat format.

According to the news release, "AskAway uses special software to connect 160 librarians from 46 public libraries to residents across the province. AskAway also connects 100 librarians from 20 post-secondary institutions. The academic librarians provide specialist resources for post-secondary students, including access to academic research databases… Since the start of the pilot in late September, college and university librarians have fielded more than 800 questions on topics ranging from political figures of the past to psychology research papers." For more information, contact Corinna Filion, Public Affairs Bureau, BC Ministry of Education at (250) 356-5963

Mississauga launches eMaps

In late October, Mississauga launched eMaps, an award-winning online mapping system that provides access to up-to-date, municipal mapping data. Users can search for locations in Mississauga by address or street intersection, zoom in and out for more or less detail and click and drag to view other areas. Acording to the news release "what differentiates eMaps from other mapping solutions is the ability to overlay detailed map layers, including viewing aerial photography of the city, dating back to 1954, and property mapping, which displays property lines. Maps can also be saved, e-mailed and printed." Currently, users must navigate eMaps (www.mississauga.ca/portal/services/maps) using Microsoft Internet Explorer, but future plans include broadening its compatibility with other Internet browsers. eMaps was created in partnership with Bentley, an international software company headquartered in Exton, Pennsylvania.

North York municipalities join forces on waste collection contract

The northern six municipalities (Northern 6) in York Region - Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Newmarket and Whitchurch-Stouffville - have taken a cooperative approach to contracting waste collection services. Following a competitive process, Turtle Island Recycling Corporation was awarded a joint contract for the collection of waste, recycling, source separated organics and yard waste starting in 2007. Under the contract, over 65 percent of waste will be diverted from landfill. There will be an increased level of service to the municipalities while realizing a combined savings of approximately $11 million over the next 10 years. For more information, contact John Smith, Senior Consultant, Lura Consulting at (905) 527-0754 or smithj@lura.ca.

BC municipality chooses biodiesel to fuel its vehicles

Sparwood, British Columbia has committed to service its municipally owned vehicles with locally produced biodiesel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in the community. The biodiesel will be purchased from a new local company - Agri Green Biodiesel. The Agri Green Biodiesel manufacturing facility, which employs three people, opened spring 2006 and produces 20,000 litres of biodeisel a month. According to the news release "Sparwood will use a B40 biodiesel blend (40 percent derived from renewable vegetable oils) produced by Agri Green Biodiesel to service 17 pieces of machinery - graders, gravel trucks, loaders, backhoes and various other vehicles."

Nova Scotia establishes new renewable energy goal

The Province of Nova Scotia wants to have 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2013. To support that goal it has taken a series of steps including:

  • offering a rebate on solar water heating panels for residential and commercial sectors;
  • provided a $20 million commitment to move Halifax hospitals and universities from Bunker C fuel to cleaner natural gas;
  • installing, at no cost, 9,000 energy-efficient thermostats in the homes of low-income Nova Scotians;
  • funding a green-roof project at the new Citadel High School;
  • funding Nova Scotia's Climate Change Centre;
  • creating Conserve Nova Scotia, launched October 20, 2006*; and
  • enhancing the tax structure by enacting the energy efficiency tax credit.

* "Conserve Nova Scotia will develop programs and policies to encourage Nova Scotians to reduce energy waste and achieve greater energy efficiency. The agency's first program will be a $1.1 million energy efficient oil appliance rebate. The new rebate program, called Retire Your Furnace, will be part of the Smart Energy Choices program reassigned to Conserve Nova Scotia from the Department of Energy… Conserve Nova Scotia will partner with the Canadian Oil Heat Association on the rebate program… Details on the rebates are available at www.retireyourfurnace.ca or by calling 1-800-670-4636. Applications will be available at all Access Nova Scotia centres" (Source: Government of Nova Scotia news release Oct. 20, 2006)

New book discusses failure to learn from e-government mistakes

Press Release: Otago University Press

Tally the money lost on failed information and computer technology projects - $17 million here, $100 million there - and the amount is staggering. Yet millions of taxpayer dollars continue to be invested in e-government initiatives.

The authors of New Zealand's first book on e-government argue that the public sector has not learnt a key lesson: large ICT projects generally fail and should be avoided if possible.

In Dangerous Enthusiasms: E-Government, Computer Failure and Information System Development, Robin Gauld and Shaun Goldfinch contend that a central problem is the overblown and unrealistic expectations that many people have for information technology.

In reality, the larger the development, the more likely it will fail. Just 38 percent of government projects are deemed successful and these often do not deliver the financial and other benefits they promise.

Dr Gauld and Dr Goldfinch examine case studies of e-government and ICT failures in the New Zealand public sector. The INCIS development in the New Zealand Police force was abandoned in 1999 at a direct cost of above $100 million and indirect costs largely incalculable. Health Waikato abandoned its ICT project at a cost of $17 million. A large part of a $26 million Capital Coast Health project failed. While considered successful, Land Information New Zealand's Landonline system ran considerably over budget estimates, faced continual delays and caused significant disruption to business during its development. What is striking about these failures and partial success is the degree to which they repeat many of the mistakes found in other ICT failures.

The title of the book is drawn from four 'enthusiasms' for ICT that Dr Gauld and Dr Goldfinch have identified: technological infatuation, the myth of the technological fix, the role of technology salespeople, and managerial faddism. These four enthusiasms feed off and mutually reinforce each other, creating a strongly held belief that new and large ICT projects will be a good idea.

Authors:
Robin Gauld is a senior lecturer in health policy, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago. His books include Revolving Doors: New Zealand's Health Reforms (2001), and, as editor, Continuity and Chaos: Health Care Management and Delivery in New Zealand (2003).

Shaun Goldfinch is a senior lecturer in Political Studies at the University of Otago. He is the author of Remaking New Zealand and Australian Economic Policy: Ideas, Institutions and Policy Communities (2000).

Publication details
Dangerous Enthusiasms: E-Government, Computer Failure and Information System Development, published by Otago University Press Release: 28 July 2006. RRP $39.95

DND begins procurement of medium-sized logistics trucks

According to the news release, "the new fleet of trucks will rebuild Canada's land forces' ability to provide lift and logistical support on the ground and represent an essential investment for the Canadian Forces. Whether deployed on operations overseas, providing assistance during domestic emergencies, or in day-to-day operations in Canada, the role of the medium-sized logistics trucks is essential; getting people, equipment and supplies where they are needed most…

A competitive procurement process will select the contractor for the new truck fleet, with requests for proposals being released to industry for all elements of the project. The acquisition contracts will also have full economic benefits for Canadian industry - this means that for every contract dollar awarded, the contractor will commit a corresponding dollar in economic activity in Canada.

The Department of National Defence will procure 2,300 vehicles, associated components, logistics and training support at a cost of approximately $1.1 billion. It is estimated that 20 years of contracted in-service support will cost an additional $100 million. For more information please read the Medium Sized Logistics Trucks backgrounder available at: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/newsroom/view_news_e.asp?id=1961."


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