In the News Archive
March 2007

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Saskatchewan launches large free wireless network

The Saskatchewan! Connected initiative will offer users basic Internet service in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Regina, and Moose Jaw via a wireless Wi-Fi network to be operated by the government Information Technology Office, SaskTel and other partners. The service will also be available in select business districts in close proximity to downtown Saskatoon and Regina. Any existing desktop or laptop computer can be configured with a Wi-Fi adaptor for under $100 and then connected quickly and conveniently to the free service. Work on the project will begin shortly, with the service expected to be available to users this spring. As a publicly-accessible network, special provisions will be made to prevent access to inappropriate materials. The capital cost of the project will be $1.3 million, with annual operating costs of $339,000. For more information on the program, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/connected.

Nova Scotia provides online road condition reporting system

The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Public Works recently installed a new online high-tech, road condition reporting system which can be reached through a link on the Department of Transportation and Public Works website. The new website is bilingual and, through its links to the department's province wide network of 40 webcams, gives drivers an instant update of driving conditions. A telephone system which will give audio reports when highway numbers are punched in will soon be activated.

Nackawic partners to improve wastewater treatment

A total of $679,028 in infrastructure funding from the Province of New Brunswick and the Government of Canada and the Town of Nackawic will allow the town to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant, improving the treatment of effluent for 400 households, and enabling the connection of new households and a commercial establishment to the wastewater system. Each partner will fund an equal share.

Building an eco-friendly 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games curling venue

The curling venue at Hillcrest/Nat Bailey Stadium Park, designed following best environmental and business practices, will be one of the most eco-friendly projects for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

According to the news release issued in late February, “the project incorporates a range of specific measures to improve water and resource consumption, make the venue more energy efficient and minimize the impact on local ecosystems. These measures were identified in a study commissioned by the Government of Canada and VANOC. The study identified the most cost-effective measures to increase the facility's overall environmental performance, as measured by the LEED Green Building rating system – a broadly accepted certification system developed by the US Green Building Council and the Canadian Green Building Council.

Hillcrest/Nat Bailey Stadium, which will be fitted with temporary seating for the 2010 Winter Games, will host both the men's and women's curling events for the Olympic Games, as well as wheelchair curling for the Paralympic Games. Construction on the new arena starts in spring 2007 and will be finished by fall 2008. Funding for the new facility is provided by the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the City of Vancouver …After the 2010 Games, the curling venue will become a multipurpose community recreation centre that will house an ice hockey rink, gymnasium, library and up to eight sheets of curling ice. The new community recreation centre will later be connected to an aquatic centre with a 50-metre pool and a leisure pool, which will be managed by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.”

BC public transit receives federal funding

In late February over $5 million in funding was delivered to begin the rapid bus transit system in Victoria. This funding from the Public Transit Fund to BC Transit will help with the development of a median bus way on Douglas Street from downtown Victoria to Saanich Road, a transition to highway curbside transit operations and station improvements. According to the news release, the federal government “is providing $1.3 billion for public transit across Canada through the Public Transit Fund and the Public Transit Capital Trust. Under the Public Transit Fund, British Columbia will receive over $52.5 million, which will be administered by the Union of BC Municipalities. As well, British Columbia has already received $119.3 million from the Public Transit Capital Trust. This builds on other infrastructure investments by the Government of Canada ...”

Tatamagouche historic landmark receives federal funds

The federal government has invested a total of $929,504 (ACOA, $619,675 and the Department of Canadian Heritage, $309,829) to support the revitalization of an historic landmark in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. According to the news release, “the upgrades planned for the Tatamagouche Creamery Square represent the second phase of a three-phase development project that will help position Nova Scotia’s North Shore as a central tourism destination. Plans include the renovation of the six museum and archive facilities that make up the Creamery Square site and will include construction of a museum and the production of new displays and interpretive materials.”

Nova Scotia launches new e-waste regulations

In late February, the Nova Scotia government, in partnership with the electronics industry, announced “regulations that require the industry to take responsibility for safe and environmentally friendly management of their products. It is anticipated e-waste collection facilities will be ready to start accepting computers, televisions and printers by February 1st, 2008. The cost of the program will be covered by the electronics industry. The industry may charge consumers a fee when purchasing new products. Any fees collected by industry will be used to cover program costs and will not be sent to government. For more information, contact Janet Lynn McNeil at 902-424-7420 or mcneiljl@gov.ns.ca

Red River Floodway gets financial injection

In late February 2007, the federal government and the Province of Manitoba announced matching contributions of up to $170.5 million to the Red River Floodway Expansion project. The two governments, which are sharing the cost of the project equally, had previously announced joint contributions totalling $324 million toward this project. This funding will allow the project to proceed without delays and avoid any resulting cost increases. The federal contribution comes from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund, which supports large-scale projects of major national and regional significance.

Tender awarded for construction of community cancer program project at Deloraine Hospital

T. L. Penner Construction Ltd. of Kola, Manitoba has been awarded a contract valued at more than $750,000 to enhance access to chemotherapy at Deloraine Hospital. The Assiniboine Regional Health Authority is partnering with CancerCare Manitoba to operate the four-station unit. According to Penny Gilson, chief executive officer of the Assiniboine Regional Health Authority, “Community cancer programs are becoming local centres of excellence in cancer care. The Deloraine program will afford cancer patients in the southwest corner of our region improved quality of life by reducing the travel required to access such care.”

Yukon government continues to “green” its fleet

In late February, the Government of Yukon's Fleet Vehicle Agency added a “Smart For Two” diesel to its fleet. The Yukon government had promised to act on climate change and to cut operational costs and “greening” the fleet is one way to fulfill that promise. Since the replacement strategy was launched in 2005, 16 compact, four-cylinder sport utility vehicles have been purchased, as well as 15 compact and sub-compact cars. According to the press release, “the Smart Car, now on lease to the Department of Environment, emits half the greenhouse gases of a regular mid-sized sedan and consumes just 4.6 litres of gas per 100 km in town, and 3.8 litres per 100 km on the highway (61 mpg in town and 74 mpg on the highway).”

Xcel Energy Study: plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, with a smart grid, could have system benefits

On February 22, 2007, Xcel Energy announced the results of a six-month study related to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and how an increase in their use might affect the power grid in Colorado depending on when and where the cars were charging. It also looked at the overall emission footprint of these vehicles, the decreased vehicle fuel costs and how PHEVs could impact a company’s production and capacity costs.

Xcel Energy’s Utility Innovations group worked with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on the study. A cutting-edge computer-modeling program was used to measure the impact of a mass penetration of PHEVs and how much energy would be required to charge them.

NREL’s program was able to simulate adding vehicles to the roads in large increments, under real driving conditions, simulating an increase in the market penetration of these vehicles. The study revealed that these cars, each equipped with a 9 kilowatt-hour battery, could reduce overall CO2 vehicles’ emissions by half. They could also save owners more than $450 in fuel costs each year compared to a traditional combustion engine vehicle.

The study found that PHEVs may result in a reduction of the overall expense of owning a vehicle and, with the help of smart-grid technologies, eliminate harmful vehicle emissions by up to 50 percent.

“Hybrid gas/electric vehicles are already on the market and PHEVs are staged for growth, so we wanted to know how that could affect our business,” said Mike Carlson, CIO, Xcel Energy. “Depending on when customers choose to recharge, adding PHEVs to the road may help reduce overall emissions of CO2 without significant increases in utility infrastructure. In other words, PHEVs could be one piece of the puzzle to solving our global climate change problem.”

Premiers must leverage cross border ID

The Advanced Card Technology Association of Canada, (ACT Canada, www.actcda.com) is calling upon all provincial governments “to plan beyond the short term opportunity to use driver’s licences for cross border ID. While recognizing the benefits of providing ease of passage at the US border, [Catherine Johnston, president and CEO of ACT Canada] also stresses that ID management and policy be considered in a broader sense, so that any plans and expenditures would support additional benefits for Canadians…”

The organization says that province-wide registrations to ensure that licences are issued only to qualified drivers/travelers would provide an accurate base from which to issue IDs, and would support solutions to other problems. “This includes dealing with risks when personal data is vulnerable because it is stored on the card face or magnetic stripe of a government issued card, and the growing cost of fraud from the use of counterfeit cards or legitimate cards presented by fraudsters. It also allows provinces to issue cross border ID to citizens who do not have a driver’s licence.”

Registration would also allow health providers to share data with the patient’s permission, increasing the quality and timeliness of care and cutting costs. According to the news release, “registered citizens with secure ID can access their own records, helping ensure that data created through the use of a fraudulent card or transaction doesn’t result in harm.”

“Choosing the right standards and technology will save money and support interoperability with other governments and the private sector,” says Johnston. Chip technology, being rolled out by financial institutions in Canada and other countries, provides the necessary security. Their EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) specifications which provide for secure payment could be used with ICAO travel document standards.”

The organization identified additional benefits to building a strategy for an ID management plan. “Moving vulnerable personal information to the chip where it can be secured can fight identity fraud. Privacy can be protected using design tools available from ACT Canada. Reducing the need for governments to issue separate cards for each program saves money and increases people’s perceived satisfaction. A recent Ipsos-Reid - ACT Canada subscription study shows that consumers strongly identify the benefits of carrying fewer cards. Fraud savings can initially be used to pay for these systems...” For more information, contact: Catherine Johnston at 905-426-6360 ext. 23.

Moving forward: procurement inside the federal government
Source: www.pwgsc.gc.ca

The federal government is modernizing its procurement process, looking closely at how it purchases the goods and services bought by most departments, such as computers and temporary help. It has determined that it will adhere to the following procurement practices, some of which are familiar; others are not.

  • Functionality rather than brand, technical and supplier based specifications. This allows suppliers to propose innovative products and solutions to meet functional needs.
  • Fewer models and configurations. The goal is to reduce the range of goods (e.g. from hundreds of models of chairs to a few dozen), but maintain reasonable choice.
  • Factoring value into the evaluation of goods and services. This means quality and other factors are considered, not just price.
  • Active price competitions and taking advantage of market prices. This is not new. It gives suppliers an opportunity to update their prices periodically to reflect changing market conditions.
  • Supply continuity with the qualification of multiple suppliers for certain goods and services.
  • Ensuring that government operations in every region have access to local support where this is needed (e.g. printers).
  • Level competitive playing field and open, fair competitions that will reduce the cost of bidding. For instance, testing for furniture will be performed after successful award of business rather than as a requirement to bid, and testing will be conducted on far fewer models.
  • Steps to make it easier to compete and conduct business with the government. For example, joint bids from consortia of small firms will be treated equally to bids from large firms.
  • More business for suppliers who win competitions.
  • Faster execution of orders. Using standing offers will result in procurements being done in 1-4 days rather than the current 30-60 days.
  • Using electronic tools to have more information about who buys what, when, at what price and from whom. That information will then be used to negotiate even better value ...”

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) has issued a series of consolidated procurement instruments (CPIs) with suppliers for commonly purchased goods and services. CPIs include standing offers, contracts and supply arrangements. Treasury Board Secretariat has made the use of standing offers mandatory for 10 categories of goods and services. The complete list can be consulted at www.pwgsc.gc.ca. Departments and agencies will be required to report on their usage of standing offers starting in 2007. To date, PWGSC has issued CPIs within 7 categories of goods and services including vehicles, envelopes, office supplies, computer hardware and converged network services. These CPIs allow the government to call on pre-qualified suppliers if and when their products and services are needed, based on an agreed price, making it easier and less costly for the government to meet its procurement needs. More information is available at http://www.pwgsc.gc.ca/transformation/proc/text/communications-e.html.

PWGSC is improving the availability of green products and services:

Furniture: Mandatory green requirements will be specified in upcoming requests for standing offers for freestanding furniture and seating groups. These will be divided into green and non-green categories depending on the green certifications required for qualifying bids.

Server, desktop and notebooks: New mandatory green requirements will include environmentally friendly certification, reduce hazardous materials, reuse and recycle design plus end-of-life management, and environmental stewardship in manufacturing and packaging.

Accommodation: RFSO supports the Green Leaf Eco-Rating Program and the Hotel Association of Canada Green Key Eco-Rating Program.

Car rental: RFSO includes a hybrid car category and a directory list of vehicle gas emissions.

Report on draft federal procurement policy released

On February 27, 2007, the Treasury Board released the results of the independent review of the government's procurement policy conducted by Robert Dye, President and CEO of the Purchasing Management Association of Canada. Dye was appointed in July 2006 to review the draft procurement policy and provide recommendations to strengthen it.

Overall Dye appears supportive of federal efforts to improve the procurement process in the federal government while acknowledging that they are doing so in an environment that is increasingly complex, under more public scrutiny than ever before, and stressed by the changing nature of technology and the workforce. In the executive summary of the report, Dye states that “the new draft policy supports the government’s stated intent of achieving fairness, openness and transparency in procurement. The policy, if effectively implemented and managed, should obtain value for money, enhance oversight without restricting public servants in a tangle of rules, and foster a culture of ethics and innovation within the federal public service.” In accordance with his mandate to suggest areas the policy might be improved, he points to some fundamental issues: “defining the key terms of fairness, openness and transparency, and providing further direction on reporting requirements and the establishment of performance measures.” The Report on the Review of the Draft Treasury Board Policy on Managing Procurement is available on the Treasury Board website at www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/report/orp/2007/mp-ga/mp-ga_e.asp.

Canada Health Infoway investment links three Toronto healthcare locations

According to a news release in early February 2007, Canada Health Infoway made an investment of approximately $900,000 to electronically link three care settings at Toronto’s Sherbourne Health Centre by the fall of 2007: “the Health Centre itself – a downtown Toronto clinic; the Health Centre's two mobile health buses that provide outreach medical services mostly to the homeless; and a 20-bed infirmary for people released from acute care, who may not have adequate accommodations for a proper recovery (to be opened in early 2007).

Through this investment, Sherbourne’s existing electronic medical records (EMR) system will be made available within the mobile health buses to allow nurses and caseworkers on the buses to use a notebook computer and wireless connections linked to the Health Centre's main server to create, update and access patient records. The records will also be accessible at the infirmary. Once the project is complete, caregivers will be able to seamlessly access patient information across all three care settings.

…The project supports several provincial and federal healthcare objectives. Greater efficiencies in service and fewer duplications should result in both cost-savings and shorter wait times. As well, elimination of prescription and test duplication that often occurs with traditional recordkeeping will enhance patient safety.”

Canada Health Infoway is an independent not-for-profit organization that invests with public sector partners across Canada to implement and reuse compatible health information systems that support a safer, more efficient healthcare system.

HP applies environmental principles to packaging

In early February 2007 HP announced that it redesigned its print cartridge packaging for North America to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 37 million pounds in this year – the equivalent of taking 3,600 cars off the road for one year.(1)

According to the news release, “the emissions savings are the result of smaller, lighter packages that both reduce the total carbon footprint of each cartridge and the truck and freighter transportation traffic required to ship them. Newer packaging also contains more recyclable and recycled content.
‘What I see here is smart design,’ said Greg Norris, Ph.D., environmental life cycle assessment instructor at Harvard University and creator of the Earthster project (www.earthster.org), an open source software platform designed to make opportunities for sustainable production and purchasing globally accessible…

For retailers, the new packaging is also expected to save significant transportation and storage costs while freeing up valuable display space.

HP estimates its redesigned print cartridge packaging will eliminate the use of nearly 15 million pounds of materials, including 3 million pounds of corrugated cardboard in 2007. The packaging also will eliminate the use of more than 6.8 million pounds of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic through material reduction and substitution of recycled content plastic and paperboard.(2)

HP inkjet cartridge multipacks, for example, are now made with recycled content paperboard instead of PVC. In fact, since 2003, HP has reduced overall package weight for inkjet cartridge multipacks by 80 percent and quadrupled the number of packages that can be carried in a single truckload.

Additionally, HP inkjet cartridge photo value packs are now packaged completely in recycled paperboard instead of PVC plastic. Also, PVC has been replaced by recycled plastic (PET – RPETG) in HP inkjet cartridge tripack packaging sold in club stores.(3)

New HP LaserJet toner cartridge packaging uses 45 percent less packaging material by weight. The more compact package also contains an innovative multi-chamber air bag that protects the cartridge from transport damage, dust, moisture and light. The smaller boxes can be shipped 30 percent more efficiently – a standard shipping pallet holds 203 cartridges instead of the previous 144.

Overall, the more efficient packaging is expected to reduce truck traffic in the United States and Canada by an estimated 1.5 million miles in 2007.(4)

Retailers also should realize savings in shelf space from the new packaging. Front-facing surface area for multipacks has been reduced by 80 percent.(5) New HP inkjet cartridge tripacks sold at club stores can be stacked three-high on shelves, as opposed to two-high in the past. And new HP LaserJet toner cartridge packaging offers retailers more than 30 percent shelf space savings.” For more information, see www.hp.com/go/environment.

  1. Estimates are based on projected 2007 print cartridge sales in the United States and Canada. Global warming gas (carbon dioxide equivalents) emissions reductions calculated based on anticipated 2007 sales, using packaging configurations before and after recent improvements. Environmental impacts modeled with SimaPro 7 (PRé Consultants, The Netherlands, 2006) lifecycle inventory software. Carbon equivalency factors from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Calculations from www.usctcgateway.net/tool/.
  2. Estimated reductions compare current to prior packaging designs, using anticipated 2007 sales.
  3. The term “tripacks” is used here to describe club store packages, most but not all of which contain three cartridges.
  4. Based on anticipated 2007 sales, shipping in full truckloads, 1,000-mile average trip distance from distribution centers in California and Virginia.
  5. Inkjet retail multipack example (display width x height): current dimensions: 4.8 inches x 6.4 inches; previous dimensions: 10.7 inches x 13.4 inches.

Windsor Public Library launches WIFI

Windsor Public Library (WPL) implemented a secure wireless Internet access HOTSPOT at the Central Library, which became operational on February 7, 2007. Customers just enter the coverage area, turn on their laptop or notebook computer and can send and receive information through the WIFI network.

According to the news release, the WIFI “infrastructure consists of 9 wireless access points provided by Cisco Systems installed throughout Central Library. The access points provide WIFI access using the very popular 802.11a/b/g standards. Each access point has been strategically placed to provide wireless access seamlessly even while roaming throughout the building.

Once attached to an access point, customers will then be transferred to a captive portal developed by local partner, Applied Computer Solutions (ACS), which requests a library card barcode and PIN. This information is used to authenticate access to the network. Once authenticated, customers are instantly connected to the Internet.

Additionally, WPL staff can utilize the infrastructure to become more mobile than ever … When combined with [WPL’s] new Voice Over IP (VoIP) telephony solution, staff will be able to access voice, video and data from anywhere within the library delivering better service to customers.” Wireless Internet access will soon be available at all other WPL branches.

Township of Huron-Kinloss to upgrade drinking water systems

Following a recently announced investment made under the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program (COIP), the Township of Huron-Kinloss will upgrade the Lakeshore, Lucknow, Ripley and Whitechurch water systems, which will improve the drinking water quality for 2,698 households. The upgrades include increasing chlorine contact in each of the systems, installing low chlorine and high turbidity alarms, constructing chemical storage tank containment barriers and installing chlorine residual analyzers.

The upgrades are required to bring the municipal water system into compliance with the Ontario Drinking Water Systems Regulation. … The governments of Canada and Ontario will each contribute up to $455,732 towards the project. The Township of Huron-Kinloss will invest the balance of the project’s total eligible cost of $1,367,196.

Green Municipal Fund seeks solid waste diversion projects

On February 14, 2007 the Federation of Canadian Municipalities issued a Green Municipal Fund (GMF) request for proposals (RFP) for “financing to support implementation of leading edge sustainable municipal solid waste diversion projects.

GMF funding opportunities for capital projects are available through annual RFPs in five sectors of municipal operation: energy, waste, water, transportation and brownfields. A competitive RFP process is used to determine which projects best meet program objectives. A limited amount of funding is available for each RFP and as a result only the best applications will receive funding.

The primary objective of the 2007 Waste RFP is to fund exceptional waste diversion projects that can serve as examples of excellence for other municipal governments to follow. The volume of waste diverted from landfills and the expected social and economic benefits of the projects will determine the funding. GMF will award, in total, up to $10 million in low interest loans and up to $1.6 million in grants through the 2007 Waste RFP process.” The deadline to submit the intent to apply was March 14, 2007. If the intent to apply is accepted, applicants will be asked to submit a detailed proposal. The proposal will be reviewed by a team of independent, third-party experts. The 2007 Waste RFP closed May 1, with final funding decisions available in September 2007. Details of the RFP requirements and processes are available at www.sustainablecommunities.fcm.ca/Home.

Federal government supports unmanned aerial vehicle development

In early February 2007, MIST Mobility Integrated Systems Technology Inc. (MMIST) announced it had received a $9-million repayable investment from the federal government to develop second-generation unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). MMIST’s Sherpa (a precision-guided parachute system for cargo delivery) and SnowGoose (a powered UAV that can launch both from the ground and in the air technologies) operate without a pilot and can be used to deliver emergency aid.

According to the news release MMIST will “improve the endurance, cargo capacity and flight-planning systems of both models, as well as to develop a self-launch capability for the SnowGoose. The company hopes to make it possible for the system to transport larger loads of emergency items in domestic and overseas missions.” The upgrades will enable the UAVs to be used by the military for a wide range of tasks that present an unacceptably high level of risk to human personnel.

Manitoba contributes funds to Portage and District Hospital for new equipment

Manitoba is investing more than $930,000 for a new fluoroscopy unit and surgical equipment for the Portage and District Hospital.

The fluoroscopy suite comprises approximately $610,000 of the funding. The fluoroscopy unit itself costs an estimated $460,000: the remaining fluoroscopy funding will be used to update the electrical supply and transformer, as well as undertake room renovations.

The new surgical equipment will cost approximately $320,000 and includes four flexible endoscopes with light source, camera, processor and stand at a cost of approximately $176,000.  Another $72,000 will be used to purchase a laparoscopic video system, allowing the facility to continue to perform laparoscopic procedures.

City of Ottawa benefits from landfill gas conversion to electricity

On February 1, 2007 PowerTrail Inc. completed the commissioning of a 5 megawatt (MW) landfill gas to energy facility located at the City of Ottawa’s Trail Road Landfill. Landfill gas, a natural by-product of the decomposition process that was formerly burned off, is converted to electricity using proven technology. Preventing landfill gas from being released to the atmosphere reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the site; the electricity produced reduces the need for electricity from less “green” sources. According to the news release, “the facility collects the gas through wells inserted into garbage mounds and uses it to power five internal combustion reciprocating engines, each linked to a 1 MW generator. The facility will generate enough electricity to power up to 5,000 Ottawa homes.”

Also according to the news release, the City of Ottawa “will also benefit, saving $2 million in needed upgrades and repairs to the existing gas collection system at the site, and another $200,000 annually in operating and maintenance costs. The city will also receive a royalty payment estimated at $150,000 per year for the use of the gas by the generating plant…”

PowerTrail Inc. is a partnership between Energy Ottawa Inc., an operating division of Hydro Ottawa Holding Inc., and Integrated Gas Recovery Services, Inc. (IGRS).” For more information, contact Nathan Benson at the Hydro Ottawa Group of Companies at (613) 738-5499, ext. 252. 

PEI company serving disabled persons gets government support

Pat and the Elephant, a PEI company founded by Patricia Rogers in 1975 (www3.pei.sympatico.ca/pat.e/public_html), provides a needed service to physically challenged Islanders and visitors alike. Their clients include people who are visually or hearing impaired, have artificial limbs and/or use a wheelchair. The company has just added two new vans to their existing fleet of two, thanks to $125,000 from the Government of Canada’s Public Transit Fund. The vans are specially equipped with hydraulic lifts, ramps, and special tie-downs and seatbelts to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers. The vans can hold up to three persons in wheelchairs and three passengers using regular seating. Services are available year round.

Ontario invests in brownfield development of streetcar repair site

In late January 2007, the Government of Ontario announced it is investing $3 million in the Artscape Green Arts Barns brownfield development project.

Artscape was selected by the City of Toronto to re-develop and manage the former TTC streetcar barns in Toronto’s historic Wychwood area, as a multi-tenant community centre. Artscape is responsible for re-developing four of the five streetcar barns, including The Studio Barn, The Covered Street Barn, The Community Barn and The Green Barn.

According to the news release, “the redeveloped barns will showcase sustainable, energy-efficient design principles and encourage community accessibility and collaboration. The barns will include artists’ live/work studios, rehearsal space, offices for non-profit arts and environmental organizations, and space for year-round community events and festivals. There will also be a greenhouse and community kitchen.

Artscape is a not-for-profit enterprise engaged in culture-led regeneration. Its work includes anchoring creative communities within affordable spaces and building authentic and dynamic places by connecting creative and cultural resources.”

For information on the “greening” aspects of the project, see www.torontoartscape.on.ca/going_green.

Greater Sudbury launches 311 service

In mid-February 2007, the City of Greater Sudbury launched its new 311 service, marking the next step in the city’s efforts to enhance service to local citizens through a “one-stop” approach. Since amalgamation, the city has been using a consolidated call centre and client services centre.

Using the electronic tracking system that is part of 311 service, city staff will now be able to track service requests through to completion, and will be better able to monitor requests and manage response times. As well, with 311 operational, the city anticipates a reduction in non-emergency calls to the 911 service

Summit magazine has been following the development of 311 service since 2003, when we published an article, Call 311: Simplifying customer service. It outlined the 311 service as it was being developed and implemented in the US and described its potential as seen at the time. The most recent article documented a live “Chatroom” session held at the GTEC event in Ottawa last fall. U-city. 311. Are you ready? looked into the future at some of the issues surrounding connectivity and the ability to hold our governments more accountable for their service promises. The articles are available at: www.summitconnects.com.

Esquimalt city government leads by “green” example

Esquimalt municipal employees feel that, as a corporation, the municipality should be leading the local community in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy efficiency and waste reduction. They spearheaded an initiative that saw one square metre of floor space on the third floor of the municipal hall rezoned to accommodate a brand new high density “worm condo” composter – a self-contained indoor composting box that requires minimal maintenance. Food waste (fruit waste, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, etc.) originating from the Town Hall, Sports Centre, and Recreation Centre will be transformed by red wriggler worms into compost, which will then be harvested every 5-6 months and offered to staff for their gardens or houseplants. For more information, contact Sonja Zupanec, Planning Technician, Township of Esquimalt at (250) 414-7179.

The methodology to clean up Sydney’s Tar Ponds has been decided

The governments of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia, after carefully considering recommendations made by the Joint Environmental Assessment Review Panel for the remediation of the Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens, have determined that the “cleanup will concentrate on solidification, containment and capping of contaminated soils followed by site development and long-term monitoring and maintenance. It will not include incineration.”…The agreement between the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia will ensure the diligent and cost-effective management of the remediation project. The sites will be cleaned up on a cost-shared basis over eight years for a total of $400 million, with the federal government contributing $280 million and the province, $120 million.”

Iogen receives federal loan for biofuel development

Ottawa-based Iogen Energy Corporation has received a repayable $7.7-million investment from the federal government to upgrade its cellulose-to-ethanol demonstration plant in Ottawa, and continue further developments in biofuel technology.

According to the news release, “the investment is part of a $25.8-million cellulose-to-ethanol project. Iogen converts cellulose carbohydrates from agricultural residue such as corn stalks and straw to sugars, which are then fermented into ethanol and blended with traditional car fuel to reduce vehicle emissions. Besides helping to reduce greenhouse emissions, the project is said to also help the agricultural sector because Iogen’s cellulosic ethanol is made from the non-food portion of agricultural crops, creating new sources of income for the sector.”

Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund invests $15 million in infrastructure

In mid-February, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF) contributed $15 million to 27 projects throughout the province in the first round of funding of the program.

The federal contribution was $4.9 million; provincial funding was just under $5.7 million. Municipalities provided $4.4 million under the cost shared program. The majority of the approved projects (listed below) are for the renewal or replacement of water and waste water systems. The most significant project is the $6.3 million Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre, which will be built in St. John’s. In addition to the contributions from the federal, provincial and municipal governments, another $1 million will be raised through an initiative being spear-headed by the Swilers Rugby Club. Applications under Round II of MRIF are currently under review by both levels of government. For more information on MRIF, visit http://www.mpa.gov.nl.ca/mpa/mrifa/default.htm. For additional information on infrastructure programs administered by the Government of Canada, visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca.

Grande Prairie Airport to establish an on-site aircraft rescue and firefighting service

Grande Prairie Airport has been awarded more than $13 million in Airports Capital Assistance Program funding since it was transferred to the City of Grande Prairie. The most recent funding (awarded January 2007) of $2.14 million is for an on-site aircraft rescue and firefighting service. Other funded projects include an upgrade to the approach lighting system; a rehabilitation of the air terminal building’s roof; the rehabilitation of runways and taxiways; the replacement of heavy equipment; upgrades to the approach path indicator system; and the reconfiguration and expansion of the apron.

The Airports Capital Assistance Program provides funding toward capital projects related to safety, asset protection and operating cost reduction. The program also assists airports, required by regulation to provide aircraft rescue and firefighting services, by funding initial capital costs for vehicles, ongoing vehicle replacement and training associated with the purchase of the vehicles. To be eligible, airports must have year-round regularly scheduled passenger service, meet Transport Canada airport certification requirements and not be owned by the Government of Canada.

Partnership streamlines sharing spatial data in BC

In early February 2007, Safe Software®, a BC-based company providing spatial ETL (extract, transform and load) tools, and the Integrated Cadastral Information Society (ICIS), announced a joint agreement that will help streamline the sharing of spatial data among ICIS member organizations in British Columbia.

Under the terms of the agreement, ICIS members who purchase Safe Software’s FME® technology (www.safe.com) will receive FME training at no additional cost, a $1000 value per student. ICIS uses FME technology to enable ICIS members to access and download data from the ICIS webmap site in a number of different formats and coordinate systems. FME, Safe Software’s core product, manages database loading, data extraction from legacy systems, merging multiple data sources, coordinate system conversion, and format to format translation for the exchange of map data. FME consists of four major components: a translation engine (FME universal translator), a graphical authoring environment (FME workbench), a data inspection tool (FME viewer), and application extenders that directly integrate into a variety of spatial applications.

Originally incorporated in 2001, the ICIS (www.icisociety.ca) is a partnership of British Columbia’s major utilities, provincial government ministries, crown corporations, and local governments. The ICIS vision is to facilitate collaborative sharing and integration of spatial data for the economic and social benefit of British Columbia. ICIS is in the process of building a provincial standard and land information database that consists of integrated parcel fabric and related parcel links, i.e., BC Assessment, Crown and private interest and engineering infrastructure, land use. Each founding partner plays an important role: utilities: provide 75 percent of funding through membership fees, and data; provincial government and government agencies: provide expert resources, 25 percent of funding through membership fees, and data; and local government: provide data for ICIS base.

Newmarket ON builds “super” recreation centre

Newmarket, Ontario’s Magna Centre, is the largest recreation facility ever built in the town and will be one of Ontario’s largest and most cutting-edge recreation facilities. Featuring an Olympic-size and three NHL-size ice rinks, a 25-metre competition pool and 21-metre learning pool, a full-size gymnasium and more, the Magna Centre will open its doors in July 2007.

Based on the current budget projection, the cost of constructing the complex will total $36.9 million. To offset the cost to the taxpayer, the town secured $19.6 million from its Stickwood-Walker property sales (including the eco-subdivision), received a $5 million commitment from Magna International Inc. for the facility naming rights, and will generate over $300,000 annually in advertising and other ancillary revenues. For more information, contact Crystal Moss at 905-953-5300 ext. 2042 or cmoss@newmarket.ca.

City of Guelph partners to study rainwater harvesting

The City of Guelph has partnered with the University of Guelph School of Engineering, Reid’s Heritage Group, Evolve Builders Group Inc, the Ontario Centres of Excellence and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to study the feasibility and design of rainwater harvesting systems.
According to the news release, the study seeks to identify and “overcome barriers to adopting this technology and facilitate the transfer of information among researchers, home builders, policy makers and the public. Rainwater harvesting has been studied elsewhere, however, the Guelph project is among the first to involve so many key stakeholders.

The Guelph project began in December 2005 and includes the installation and monitoring of several rainwater harvesting systems in Guelph and surrounding communities, as well as a water quality testing program for these sites. The start of another crucial phase of the project took place today when Reid’s Heritage Group broke ground on its first home to feature a residential rainwater harvesting system. The house will be built on Goodwin Drive in Westminster Woods.

For more information, contact Assistant Professor Khosrow Farahbakhsh, School of Engineering, University of Guelph at 519-824-4120 ext. 53832 or khosrowf@uoguelph.ca.

The future is SLIM – Street Light Information Management for street light repairs
Source: www.bchydro.com

BC Hydro is implementing SLIM, a new program that will streamline the process for reporting and repairing street lights on its poles. A pilot project with the District of North Vancouver successfully tested SLIM and BC Hydro’s geographic information system (GIS) based Web interface. SLIM is now being rolled out to other municipalities around the province.

With this new technology, a resident can report an outage or other street light issue (such as flickering lights, lights that stay on during the day, vandalized lights, etc.) in participating municipalities by contacting the municipality. When a street light outage is reported, municipal staff determine who owns the street light. The repair is then scheduled with either BC Hydro or the participating municipality.

For BC Hydro owned lights, the municipality reports and tracks the repair request using SLIM. Once the repair is complete, the website is updated to reflect the status of the repair. If a resident calls to check on the status of a BC Hydro repair, it is easy to track online.

Auditor General re-audits federal advertising and public opinion research

According to the Auditor General of Canada (AG) the reason that advertising and public opinion research are important is that the “government uses advertising to inform the Canadian public not only about government services, programs, initiatives, and policies but also about their rights and responsibilities. It is also an important tool for informing the public about dangers or risks to the environment or public health and safety, for example. In the 2004-05 fiscal year, the government paid $49.5 million to agencies for advertising and media placements.

Public opinion research plays an important role in developing policies and programs that affect the public. It is a critical tool for gathering information on the public's opinions, perceptions, and reactions or views. In the 2004-05 fiscal year, the government spent $29 million on public opinion research.”

The Auditor General of Canada last reported on advertising and public opinion research projects in 2003, assessing the extent to which the government had ensured effective control over its spending on these activities and whether it was measuring their results and reporting them to Parliament.

The AG concluded that departments have made satisfactory progress since the last audit in planning for advertising campaigns and administering the advertising process. More details of the audit can be found at: www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/domino/reports.nsf/html/20070201ce.html.

Ontario awards contract for new high-security driver’s licence

In early March 2007, the Province of Ontario awarded a 10-year contract to Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) to deliver a complete end-to-end solution for the new province’s high-security driver's licence. G&D’s proprietary process will produce an enhanced licence with new built-in security features that offer increased protection for identification. The cards will look and feel different, but some of the new features will not be visible.

According to the news release, “G&D’s responsibility for the complete end-to-end solutions includes:

  • systems and equipment to capture photographs, signatures, and other information in Ministry of Transportation (MTO);
  • design services for the driver’s licence to maximize resistance to counterfeiting and tampering;
  • high-security manufacturing and storage of cards;
  • printing and encoding individual photographs, signatures and other cardholder information on the driver’s licences;
  • mailing of cards and associated materials to cardholders.”

These cards will be processed in G&D’s new high-security facility in Markham, Ontario. To provide the complete solution, G&D will work with the Datacard Group, an identification solution provider that has implemented government solutions worldwide.

Giesecke & Devrient Systems Canada, Inc. (www.ca.gi-de.com) is the Canadian subsidiary of Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, an international technology group operating over 52 subsidiaries and joint ventures throughout the world. The company history in Ontario dates back to the early 1960s with the production of the earliest generations of credit cards.

SDTC identifies investment priorities for sustainable technology innovation

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), a Government of Canada foundation that finances and supports the development and demonstration of innovative technologies that deliver clean water, clean soil, clean air, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, closed its eleventh round of funding submissions March 14, 2007. The next call for statements of interest (SOIs) will open August 22, 2007.”

SDTC also recently released the second in a series of SD Business Case Reports™ (www.sdtc.ca/en/knowledge/business_case.htm) that identify priority investment areas in biofuels, hydrogen and cleaner conventional fuels, however, applicants are invited to submit technological solutions in all areas of sustainable development.

The SOI is used for preliminary screening and is subject to a competitive review process by SDTC and a panel of independent experts. Following an evaluation based on the fit with SDTC’s mandate and adherence to selection criteria, and that applicants include the necessary technology, marketing, and business capabilities, certain applicants will be asked to submit a detailed, full proposal for consideration toward funding. Applications for funding may be made through the online SOI application system, at www.sdtc.ca/en/funding/advice/soi_application.htm. Prior to submitting an application, applicants are advised to read “Applications Advice” at: www.sdtc.ca/en/funding/advice/index.htm. SDTC holds two rounds of funding each year, beginning with SOIs in January and then again in August.

The federal government launches ecoENERGY Initiatives

The federal government has allocated $2 billion to its ecoENERGY initiatives, a set of focused measures to improve energy efficiency, boost renewable energy supplies and develop cleaner energy technologies. The first suite of initiatives announced in late January includes:

  • approximately $300 million to promote smarter energy use, including the new ecoENERGY Retrofit program to support energy-efficiency improvements in homes, and small buildings and industries;
  • a $230-million investment in the ecoENERGY technology initiative, which will fund the research, development and demonstration of clean energy technologies; and
  • the ecoENERGY renewable initiative, more than $1.5 billion to boost Canada’s renewable energy supplies.

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