In the News Archive
Jan/Feb 2007

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Ontario and York University partner to improve access to the province's documentary heritage

Over the next two years a new, modern facility for the Archives of Ontario will be built on the main campus of York University in Toronto. The new self-contained archival facility, about 98,000 square feet, will more than double the size of the current public reference area. According to the news release, the facility will “meet international archival standards and make it easier to showcase some of the Archives' most valuable collections by serving a broader clientele, including school groups and delegations… As part of the government's commitment to creating and promoting a culture of conservation in Ontario, the new archives building will meet the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED®) silver certification, a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The Archives of Ontario, which entered a long-term lease agreement with York University, is the largest provincial archives in Canada, with a collection valued at more than $400 million. It is responsible for preserving the documentary history of the province and is an important source of research for the police, courts, historians and genealogists.”

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro award contract for wind power

Vector Wind Energy Inc. ( ) has been awarded a contract by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro ( ) to provide 24 megawatts (MW) of wind power to the island of Newfoundland from its Fermeuse Wind Project. This award will mean almost 50MW of cost-effective, clean, wind energy on the island by 2009 and is an important step in the province’s development of renewable long-term energy supplies.

According to the news release, “there were six proposals submitted for the second request for proposals (RFP) for 25 MW blocks of wind power on the island which closed at the end of October. Each proposal was subject to a rigorous and thorough evaluation. Hydro has maintained any emissions credits from the project and also has the option to take over the operation at various points through the 20-year contract.

The next step will be to conclude the power purchase agreement with Vector. Hydro expects that will take six weeks. The island’s second wind farm has the potential to provide annual energy for 5,500 homes. The project will be located near the community of Fermeuse on the southern shore, Avalon Peninsula and will see the installation of 12, two-megawatt wind turbines.”

Saskatchewan invests in cultural and recreational facilities

Four Saskatchewan regions – Lloydminster's Common Wealth Centre, Swift Current's Centennial Civic Centre, Wanuskewin Heritage Park and Yorkton's Gallagher Centre – are the first to receive funding from the new Building Communities Program, a three-year, $100 million program designed to enhance cultural and recreational facilities in the province. Complete information on the Building Communities Program can be found on the Saskatchewan Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation's website at" \t "_blank"

Ontario municipalities recognized for their best practices in water and wastewater operations

The Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (OMBI) Water and Wastewater Expert Panel recognized the following Ontario municipalities for their best practices in water and wastewater operations resulting in exceptional energy management practices:

  • City of Ottawa – energy management with alternative sources of energy
  • City of Thunder Bay – energy management with water distribution optimization modeling
  • Region of Durham and Region of Peel – energy management: metering and billing control and verification
  • Region of Halton and City of Thunder Bay – energy management with water loss control – leak detection
  • Region of Peel – corporate energy management strategy
    OMBI Municipalities – general energy management best practices

According to the news release, “combined savings for the five municipalities are estimated in the millions over the past three years. Savings in energy consumption and operations costs for water supply and wastewater services have been documented by the publication of six best practice reports.

The OMBI Water and Wastewater Expert Panel is comprised of municipal members from regions and single tier cities across Ontario. OMBI and the Ontario Centre for Municipal Best Practices (OCMBP), which helped in sponsoring the research study, evaluated municipalities experiencing lower energy consumption and significant cost savings in their operations for water distribution and treatment, and wastewater collection and treatment.

With the assistance of EarthTech, a consulting engineering firm, the group developed the best practice reports after gathering and analyzing surveys and data, using performance measures from the Municipal Performance Measurement Program, the OMBI, and the National Water and Wastewater Benchmarking Initiative.

Each best practice report provides a municipal profile and details on the water supply and wastewater services provided by the municipalities. The best practice reports document case histories with key benefits outlined. Achievements in efficiency, effectiveness and improved environmental/community outcomes are identified.

Municipalities that may wish to replicate the best practices can reference the municipal contacts provided in each best practice report.”

About OMBI:

The Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative is a groundbreaking collaboration between 15 Ontario municipalities. Led by the chief administrative officers and city managers in each participating municipality, it fosters a culture of service excellence in municipal government. It does this by creating new ways to measure, share and compare performance statistics to help councils, staff and citizens understand where city administrations are performing well and where they can make improvements. OMBI also allows experts in participating municipalities to share ideas on operational best practices so they can learn and improve faster.

About OCMBP:

OCMBP was formed in 2002 to identify and publicize best practices that can help municipalities improve their operations. It bases its selections on the analysis of data from the Municipal Performance Measurement Program that municipalities submit annually to the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

For more information contact Ken Thompson, P. Eng., Chair OMBI Water & Wastewater Expert Panel, at 1-647-880-6543 or by email at

Kamloops buildings win LEED® Gold certification

In mid-December, the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) joined the City of Kamloops and Interior Health to celebrate two LEED® Gold certifications – the first LEED certifications in Kamloops and the first LEED certifications of their respective building types in Canada.

According to the news release, the Kamloops Centre for Water Quality, a 100 percent publicly-owned facility commissioned in February 2005 at a cost of $48.5 million, “is the first water treatment facility and Hillside Centre – an adult psychiatric facility – is the first patient care facility to be certified under LEED in Canada.

Kamloops Centre for Water Quality was designed to conserve energy by maximizing use of natural light, natural ventilation, and energy efficient materials. Green buildings also minimize waste, and one example of this in Kamloops is that residual water from the filtration process is fed to on-site wetland ponds and irrigation systems in the adjacent park and stadium…

Hillside is the only specialized neuro-psychiatric care facility within the interior region of the province. The 44-bed facility, located adjacent to Royal Inland Hospital, opened in [February 2006] and serves both as a regional and provincial facility, providing psychiatric support for adults and geriatric patients, and people with neuro-psychiatric illness. CaGBC is the leading national industry organization advancing green building practices for livable communities. The council implements the LEED Green Building Rating System in Canada.”

Federal government creates ongoing consulting mechanism with temporary help services and office furniture industries

In early December, the Honourable Michael M Fortier, Minister of Public Works and Government Services (PWGSC), today announced that the department was creating an ongoing consultation mechanism with the temporary help services and office furniture industries.

PWGSC is working with suppliers to determine the mandate, membership and other features of the new consultation mechanism. This announcement is part of PWGSC’s response to input received during consultations conducted this fall by The Conference Board of Canada, which acted as an independent third-party to consult with specific industry sectors impacted by the government’s procurement reform.

The final consultation reports and PWGSC’s response to the reports can be found at

PEI launches road camera service for travellers

Prince Edward Island’s Department of Transportation and Public Works has established a system of road cameras at six locations across PEI to provide motorists with road and current weather conditions over the Web. The data from the road cameras will also assist department staff in decision making for snow and ice control operations.

BC’s OneStop Business Registry acquires new members

The BC communities of Courtenay, Cumberland and Comox have joined the OneStop Business Registry. OneStop integrates the services of several different public bodies such as the Canada Revenue Agency, the provincial Ministry of Finance’s BC Registry Services, the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue’s Customer Service and Information Branch, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, WorkSafeBC, and local governments. Including Courtenay, Cumberland and Comox, OneStop has a total of 74 local government partners. OneStop makes it easier and faster to register a new business, apply for a municipal business licence, set up a sales tax account and more. Services include:

  • business registration: a business may register with multiple federal and provincial public sector agencies and local governments in one step;
  • business address change: a business may notify multiple federal and provincial public sector agencies and local governments of an address change, in one step;
  • business number: each BC business interacting with the public sector can be assigned a business number – a unique identifier that makes working with the public sector simpler, easier and more convenient; and BC Registry Services’ name approval: combines business name search and approval processes.

OneStop services can be accessed 24/7 at The services can also be accessed during regular business hours at various public access terminals. For more information, contact Dave Slobodan, City of Courtenay, at 250 703-4862.

Manitoba supports the Trans Canada Trail

The Province of Manitoba will provide $100,000 to the Winnipeg Trail Association (WTA) for signage along the Winnipeg Trail System including the Winnipeg portion of the Trans Canada Trail – 83 kilometres of the Trans Canada Trail winds through the city. The purpose of this project is to design, construct and post over 300 signs that will inform the public and raise awareness of the existing system of neighbourhood trails and greenways in Winnipeg including the Trans Canada Trail.

This funding is in addition to the $500,000 announced in August 2006 for continued development of the Trans Canada Trail. A further $500,000 will flow over the next two years to assist volunteers who are working to build Manitoba’s portion of the Trans Canada Trail.

According to the Trans Canada Trail website ( ), the trail is “an 18,000 kilometre recreational corridor winding its way through every province and territory. linking 800 communities along its route. When completed, this will be the longest trail of its kind in the world, connecting our regions, our three oceans and our people in a new way for generations to come.” The Manitoba Recreational Trails Association (MRTA), Manitoba’s official trail council, assists 17 community-based, volunteer trail groups which are tackling the construction of the TCT across Manitoba.

Coast Meridian Overpass Project agreement reached

In December 2006, the City of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia and TransLink, the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority ( ) finalized the terms of the cost sharing agreement for the Coast Meridian Overpass project (CMOP), which is seen to be an important link in the regional transportation network.

Planned for completion by the end of 2009, the CMOP will extend Coast Meridian Road over the Port Coquitlam Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) yard and connect to a widened and signalized Broadway Street/Kingsway Street intersection. The four-lane bridge will include sidewalks and bicycle paths. Significant improvements to the Lougheed Highway/Coast Meridian Road intersection are also planned. The city recently reached formal agreement with the CPR, that provides certainty regarding access to CPR lands and the project scope as it affects CPR operations.

According to the news release, “in finalizing the cost sharing agreement, the city and TransLink have resolved several key issues including provisions for truck traffic, pedestrians and cyclists as well as progress payments and operation responsibilities that will permit the efficient and effective delivery of the Coast Meridian Overpass and maintenance thereafter. The agreement deals principally with the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (GTVA) TransLink $60 million financial contribution to the project; it also imposes certain obligations that required elector assent. The city recently held an alternative approval process, which provided elector assent for the city to proceed with the funding agreement. In finalizing the agreement, TransLink has agreed to reimburse the city on a monthly basis, thus minimizing interim interest charges and overall project costs. Further to this agreement, the city would be required to operate, maintain and rehabilitate the overpass and related works for the duration of their design life, which is estimated to be over 50 years. The agreement also requires the city to indemnify the GVTA in perpetuity, in relation to any claims related to the project.

Port Coquitlam will fund its share of the CMOP, currently estimated at $38.73 million, primarily from development cost charges (DCCs), city land sales revenue and reserves. In the last decade, the city has accumulated enough DCCs to cover two-thirds of Port Coquitlam’s share of the estimated project costs.”

A project steering committee consisting of TransLink and city representatives will provide oversight and support to the project. A working group consisting of city and CPR representatives will refine the construction methods and the scope of the physical works within the CPR yard. The city will retain a consultant to assist with procurement and construction management. Formal requests for qualifications/proposal for design and construction will likely be issued in the spring of 2007.

Saskatchewan Communications Network partners with Quebec firm to deliver affordable rural broadband access

In mid-December, the Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN) and OmniGlobe Networks, Inc. (OGN) signed a memorandum of understanding, forming a long-term strategic alliance. They will work together to deliver a satellite-based wireless broadband Internet service capable of supporting video-conferencing, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and other e-solutions to rural and remote communities across Canada.

Through its two-way digital satellite network, SCN has expertise providing vital high-speed Internet service to many schools, health institutions and government offices throughout rural, remote and northern Saskatchewan. SCN operates as an agency of the Government of Saskatchewan, in accordance with The Communications Network Corporation Act (1989). Earlier in 2006, SCN and OGN undertook a six-month project together to successfully deliver wireless broadband Internet service to several remote communities in northern Quebec.

Under the terms of the three-year agreement, SCN will provide and maintain the satellite technical platform, while OGN will develop, provide and manage the terrestrial wireless platform, as well as actively market and distribute this new cost-effective broadband service over satellite and wireless to communities, governments and customers in remote regions of Canada.

SCN ( operates five digital satellite networks and market-related technical services. OGN is a privately held, global telecommunications company based in Montreal, Quebec, providing integrated end-to-end broadband Internet access network solutions at a competitive price point. OGN focuses on world regions where conventional broadband infrastructure is unavailable, inefficient, or too expensive. For more information contact Maureen MacDonald, SCN at 306-787-0490 or

Alberta researches turning municipal waste into electricity

The Province of Alberta is providing $29 million from Alberta's Energy Innovation Fund to help design and build a facility that will convert municipal waste into electricity. This funding covers one third of the project costs, over four years.

According to the news release, “building and operating the facility is the third and final phase of a project led by the City of Edmonton's Waste Management Branch and the Alberta Energy Research Institute. The facility will be used to evaluate the performance of gasification technologies using different feedstocks, and to demonstrate the commercial viability of the optimized system. ...Edmonton is the only city in Alberta converting landfill gas to electricity and will be the first to convert municipal waste to a clean synthetic gas for energy, relying on EPCOR's expertise in energy production.

Located at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre, the gasification demonstration plant will provide other possible users with information to support decisions on converting feedstocks such as municipal, industrial, agriculture and forestry wastes into clean energy.

Development of Canadian sustainable technologies continues to receive support

In early December, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) approved $30 million in new funding to 13 projects, covering a wide array of clean technologies – in this round, 92 percent of the projects address clean air benefits while 69 percent also focus on clean water or soil. SDTC support of these types of projects increases the probability of successful market entry for innovative Canadian technologies. 

According to the news release, “an energy production technology being developed will produce synthetic gas from the waste products of construction, demolition, and other urban wood sources. The gas will be used in combination with landfill biogas at a Québec power plant. The advantages are twofold: the industrial steam boiler will use biofuel to produce green electricity and at the same time less waste will go to landfills.

Another project is focusing on increasing the lifespan of car tires by as much as 40 percent. This will reduce the number of tires headed for landfills. Canada disposes of more than 25 million car tires each year – about eight million in Ontario alone, of which 60 percent end up in landfills.

A third project will develop and demonstrate a transmission-less hybrid drive and energy management system for mid-sized and large trucks. Use of this technology in combination with hybrid electric powertrains has the potential to reduce diesel fuel consumption by up to 60 percent in these trucks.

SDTC continues to fund biofuel related projects. Three projects were approved for funding in this round, including one that is developing a process to produce ethanol from a variety of waste sources. This brings SDTC’s total commitment to biofuel technology initiatives to $66 million.

Several projects funded in this round also address the energy requirements of remote Canadian communities. One unique solution is to harness energy from strong winds located at an altitude of several hundred feet by using floating generators attached to helium balloons. Another project will help remote communities better manage their off grid power supplies through improved energy storage capabilities.

SDTC continues to invest in clean technologies used in the oil sands, investing $2 million in two projects this round. To date SDTC has invested a total of $27 million in oil sands projects.

Funding for each project is subject to final contract execution. The 13 newly approved projects target a wide variety of sectors that are core to Canada’s economy including energy exploration and production; power generation; energy utilization; transportation; and waste management. 

The private and public sector consortia partners behind the projects are investing an additional $70 million, maintaining an overall portfolio leveraging ratio of more than 2:1 of industry/partner contribution to SDTC investment.

SDTC continues to be on track to allocate all of its funds up to December 2010.

SDTC will launch its next call for statements of interest (SOIs) on January 24, 2007. The upcoming call for SOIs will include a request for projects with technologies that address climate change, clean air, clean water and clean soil issues. Of greatest interest are those solutions that integrate benefits that address more than one focus area.”

Cape Breton ferry being replaced

By December 2007, drivers at the Englishtown ferry crossing on St. Ann’s Bay, Cape Breton Island should be using a new, larger cable ferry. Nova Scotia has called for tenders for a new ferry to be ready for service by September 30, 2007. It will carry 15 cars, and will keep the name of the existing 30-year old ferry, the Angus MacAskill. The estimated cost of the new ferry is about $2.5 million.

The Englishtown ferry is named after Cape Breton giant, Angus MacAskill who was born in Harris, Scotland in 1825. When full grown, he stood 7 feet 9 inches (2.36m) tall, weighed 425 pounds (193 kg) and wore 17.5-inch boots. He moved with his family to St. Ann's, Nova Scotia when he was a child. He lived in St. Ann’s, owning some farms and a gristmill, and died there in 1863. A museum in Englishtown commemorates his life.

Manitoba invests $7 million in sander-plow trucks

Manitoba is purchasing 18 new sander-plow trucks ($5 million) and 15 one-year-old plows ($2 million) from a company in British Columbia. Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation currently operates 249 snowplow trucks that are used in the department's winter snow control and summer maintenance program. These replacement units will decrease the average age of the department’s fleet to less than nine years enabling the department to improve the level of service on all provincial routes. The new snowplows are very similar to the ones currently in use, but come equipped with sander boxes. The 15 used trucks will also save the approximately 12-month lead time it takes to tender and build new trucks.

Manitoba supports University of Winnipeg green building construction

Manitoba is investing $10 million in the University of Winnipeg's capital program for the construction of a new science complex that will be one of the most environmentally sustainable buildings in Canada. Built to meet the gold standard of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building rating system, this facility will add five to eight percent of urgently needed space at the university and will be linked to the main campus via a green corridor. Initially the complex will house the biology, chemistry and environmental studies departments. It will also house the recently announced Richardson College for the Environment. Construction will begin in the summer of 2007.

The province also committed to a matching fundraising campaign over the next three years with the University of Winnipeg to provide up to $15 million in additional support. For every two dollars the university raises, the province will contribute a dollar.

According to the news release, “the estimated cost of the project is $30 million including land, building, fixtures and lab equipment. The Richardson family, firm and foundation made an initial investment of $3.5 million [in September 2006] to establish the Richardson College for the Environment and to develop an urban environmental garden. The University of Winnipeg will continue to develop other public, private and voluntary sector partnerships to support the remainder of the funding requirements.”

Kamloops, BC partners to deliver wireless service

According to the news release, “80 percent of Kamloops’ populated areas will have wireless access service through a unique P3 [public-private] partnership between the city and the privately owned Internet service provider called On Call Internet Services.

“… The state-of-the-art wireless service will be available to mobile workers, businesses and residents on a pay-per-use basis or a monthly fee that will be approximately half the cost of wired Internet service. The WiFi ultra high-speed wireless connectivity is enabled by the city-owned Kamloops Community Network with its 40 kilometres of fibre optic cables.

Nine access locations have been constructed to provide WiFi connectivity to laptops and other compatible devices. An additional 14 ‘hot spots’ for wireless Internet connectivity have been provided by private businesses bringing the total to 23, which allow wireless connectivity in most of the city’s populated areas. The expectation is that other businesses will help ‘grow’ the system by providing their own wireless access points.

…The city expects a strong return on its $106,000 investment over the duration of the three-year partnership arrangement for the inexpensive wireless connectivity that can be charged on a per use basis at $3.50 per hour, $14.95 per day or through a monthly fee of approximately $40.”

Vancouver Pier and waterfront development begins

In late November, the City of North Vancouver formalized its partnership with Pinnacle International the developers of the historic Pier site in Lower Lonsdale. The commercial and residential structures, hotel and amenities, and restoration work on some of the heritage structures that comprise the Pier development, could now begin. As well, the city will move forward to pursue funding from various levels of government for the development of the National Maritime Centre for the Pacific and the Arctic, intended to provide a destination celebrating the maritime history of the west coast.

For more information about the City’s Pier Development site, visit and or contact Connie Rabold at 604-983-7383 or by email at

Prince Albert’s Forest Centre certified LEED® Gold

The Forest Centre building in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan has attained LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification from the Canada Green Building Council. LEED recognizes leading-edge buildings that incorporate design, construction and operational practices and combined healthy, high-quality and high-performance advantages with a reduced environmental impact. This is the first LEED certified building in Saskatchewan and one of only four in the prairie provinces to achieve the Gold level designation. The Forest Centre will use 50 percent less energy than a traditional commercial building.

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