In the News Archive
April-May 2007

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ISTP Canada chosen by DFAIT to support R&D partnerships

On May 17, 2007, a new, international science and technology partnership program was announced, to promote joint research projects between Canada and China, India and Brazil. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade selected International Science and Technology Partnerships Canada Inc. (ISTP Canada) to be the delivery organization for the India and China components of the international science and technology partnerships program (ISTPP). ISTP Canada is a not-for-profit organization formed from the alliance of Precarn, an organization well-known for its support of innovation on the Canadian front, and the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF), a Canadian organization with experience in partnering with Israeli companies. The ISTPP has received $20 million in funding over five years from the federal government "to foster and support bilateral research projects, with the potential for commercialization."    

Speaking at the inaugural event, Dr. Henri Rothschild, President and CEO of ISTP Canada, said, [ISTP] will produce real and measurable result within one year."

Precarn is an independent not-for-profit company that supports the pre-commercial development of leading-edge technologies. Unlike other research funding programs, Precarn uses a collaborative model that includes a developer, a customer and an academic research partner in every project. Precarn provides access to an extensive national network of world-class researchers, innovative companies, and sources of funding.

According to their website, the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF) was established in 1994 to promote collaborative R&D between firms in both countries through three broad complementary activities:

  • Promoting and marketing the benefits of joint R&D
  • Matching companies from one country seeking an R&D partner in the other county
  • And contributing up to 50 percent of the joint R&D costs.

CIIRDF is located in Ottawa, Canada.

Toronto RFP scopes out new coordinated street furniture

Like a number of other cities in Canada, the US, Europe and Australia, Toronto recently launched a coordinated street furniture program. The program is one of a number of Toronto's "Clean and Beautiful City" initiatives designed to improve the quality of its public spaces.

According to the city's website, the benefits of a coordinated street furniture program include:

  • making streets more pedestrian friendly, enhancing public circulation and safety, and promoting a positive Toronto identity;
  • improving the appearance, quality, and functionality of street furniture;
  • integrating separate furniture items for improved ease of use and more effective placement;
  • providing an opportunity to reduce the total amount of advertising while simultaneously increasing its overall value and revenue for the city;
  • coordinating the placement of advertising on street furniture to make streets more attractive;
  • implementing and harmonizing rules, bylaws and regulations for street furniture
  • achieving a higher level of service and maintenance at no cost to the city; and
  • ensuring flexibility in the type, placement and scale of furniture items in each district of the city.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million. With the expiry of transit shelter and waste/recycling bin contracts in 2007 and 2009 respectively, the city took the opportunity to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a coordinated street furniture program. The design and policy guidelines in the RFP were developed based on feedback gathered from the public: ratepayer and interest groups, business improvement areas, the design industries, the Toronto Pedestrian Committee, the Toronto Cycling Committee, the Toronto Disability Issues Committee and other interested parties. A fairness commissioner, former Justice Coulter A. Osborne, is monitoring the RFP process.

Proposals have been received from three firms: Astral Media Outdoor LP, CBS Outdoor Canada and Clear Channel Outdoor. Included in each proposal are designs for transit shelters, litter/recycling receptacles, benches, info kiosks/pillars, posturing structures, multi-publication structures, bike racks and public washrooms. Their design renderings are posted at www.toronto.ca/streetfurniture and display boards are being posted at locations throughout the city for public viewing. 

The design aspect of the proposals will be evaluated by "an independent design jury, comprised of recognized professionals in their disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, graphic design and the arts." City staff will also evaluate the proposals taking into account functionality, financial and qualification aspects. Their report was expected by April 30, 2007.

BC towns tap into provincial Green Cities fund

More than 150 British Columbia communities have submitted over 400 project applications for the $81 million under three new provincial programs - Towns for Tomorrow, LocalMotion and B.C. Spirit Squares. These programs are part of the province's new Green Cities infrastructure fund.

Towns for Tomorrow (www.townsfortomorrow.gov.bc.ca) is a three-year, $21-million program geared to providing infrastructure funding for B.C.'s smaller communities. Projects supported include water quality and energy improvements, enhancement of protective and emergency infrastructure services, as well as the development of recreation, tourism or cultural amenities with long-term benefits for local citizens.

Project criteria include:

  • sustainable planning, design, construction and management;
  • innovative approaches;
  • environmental benefits and contributions;
  • health and social benefits;
  • economic growth; and
  • local government financial planning and capacity.

LocalMotion (www.localmotion.gov.bc.ca) will provide $40 million over four years for projects that improve physical fitness and safety, reduce air pollution, and meet the diverse needs of British Columbians, including seniors, young families and people with disabilities. Capital projects could include: bike paths, walkways, greenways, and improved accessibility for people with disabilitiesas well as projects that support community playgrounds and children's parks activities.

B.C. Spirit Squares (www.spiritsquares.gov.bc.ca) is a $20-million program aimed at creating or enhancing outdoor public celebration spaces." Project criteria include:

  • spaces with flexible and multiple uses;
  • accessibility for persons with disabilities;
  • multi-cultural linkages;
  • community partnerships; and
  • artistic and structural design attributes.

The project applications that have been submitted for consideration will be reviewed, with successful projects being announced later in spring 2007. Communities that did not submit proposals this round will have another opportunity to access the multi-year funding in the Towns for Tomorrow and LocalMotion programs.

Alberta supports innovative energy projects

Three innovative energy projects submitted by Canadian Natural Resources Limited, EnCana Oil and Gas Partnership, and Petro-Canada will focus on developing new energy supplies from existing oil and natural gas reserves, as well as from in situ bitumen and heavy oil deposits. According to the news release, the approved projects "will receive royalty adjustments totaling about $8 million under the second round of Alberta Energy's Innovative Energy Technologies Program (IETP).

The IETP offers royalty adjustments of up to $10 million per pilot project that demonstrates the use of new or innovative technologies to increase environmentally sound recoveries of existing reserves and encourages responsible development of new oil, natural gas and in situ bitumen reserves. The total program value in terms of royalty adjustments is $200 million over five years."

For additional information on the IETP, visit www.energy.gov.ab.ca/2858.asp.

More procurement done with aboriginal and minority-owned companies

In early April, the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) reported that its corporate members spent over $27 million in procurement dollars with aboriginal and minority companies in 2006, up from $16 million spent by CAMSC members in 2005. In April 2007, CAMSC hosted the third annual Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Procurement Fair (www.camsc.ca) in Toronto.

According to the news release, "the CAMSC Procurement Fair offered a forum where corporations and aboriginal and minority suppliers can share insights, expand their networks, and forge new opportunities. Attracting business executives, government representatives and Aboriginal and minority-owned suppliers of all sizes, the fair included a cross-border workshop on best practices in supplier diversity... CAMSC is calling for federal procurement, certification and reporting policies that will foster growth among Aboriginal and minority small and medium-sized businesses. In a 2006 report entitled Why Aboriginal and Minority Business Integration is Essential to Canada's Economic Growth, CAMSC recommended a procurement policy that would require companies doing business with the federal government and with crown corporations to report on their purchases from aboriginal and minority suppliers, and the harmonization of federal purchasing rules with US regulations, which would expand market opportunities for Canadian entrepreneurs."

Manitoba ensures provincial clothing suppliers will be responsible manufacturers

In April, the Province of Manitoba introduced "No Sweat" legislation that will formalize a provincial policy that stipulates that clothing and apparel used by government workers can only be purchased from responsible manufacturers. Manitoban tax dollars will not support goods produced with child labour.

According to the news release, "Manitoba was the first federal, provincial or territorial jurisdiction to bring in such a policy. Vancouver and Toronto also have similar policies. Manitoba's original policy was announced in November 2006.

The new legislation will help ensure clothing purchased by government is manufactured in compliance with local laws and minimum labour standards including no forced labour, no child labour, freedom of association, health and safety, no employment discrimination and employment standards such as wages, compensation and hours of work.

The new legislation will focus on education and awareness, and compliance would be based on vendor certification and public disclosure of vendors and subcontractors.

The policy applies to clothing tenders for all provincial departments. The Manitoba departments of justice, infrastructure and transportation, and conservation have the largest clothing expenditures. On average, the province spends approximately $1.3 million per year on clothing."

Comox Strathcona Regional District adds bid and tender opportunities to website

The Comox Strathcona Regional District (CSRD) added the new section, known as 'RD Bid' to its newly re-designed website (www.comoxstrathcona.ca). The bid section can be reached by clicking on the menu at the left side of the regional district's home page. Those interested can check for calls for tender, requests for proposals or bids on surplus assets, such as vehicles or equipment. According to the news release, "the CSRD will also post notices for large solicitations on the provincial government's 'BC Bid' website and will continue to use the 'notice' section of the newspaper classified ads."

Melita, Manitoba replaces town pool

In late March 2007, Melita received $200,000 in funding from the Province of Manitoba for the first phase of the replacement of its pool.

According to the news release, "the project will see the pool physically and operationally linked through an all-weather hub with the neighbouring recreation/wellness facilities. The new, universally-accessible leisure pool will be designed to allow for swimming lessons, diving, competitive swimming, a waterslide and leisure activities around the deck."

The funding is part of a $6.3 million funding commitment under the Building Manitoba Fund for municipal library and recreation facilities in rural and northern Manitoba. Eligible projects include construction/improvements to recreation and wellness facilities such as libraries, recreation centres, community halls, parks, arenas and pools.

Ontario's Hydro One to expand transmission system

On March 27, 2007, Hydro One (www.HydroOne.com) announced it will seek the necessary approvals to construct a new double-circuit 500 kilovolt (kV) line on a widened existing transmission corridor between the Bruce Power facility and Hydro One's Milton switching station located in the Town of Milton - the largest expansion to Ontario's transmission system in 20 years.

The news followed an announcement earlier in which the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) confirmed its preferred option and route for the new line to increase the province's transmission capacity and to allow for greater access to renewable energy and nuclear power from the Bruce region.

In a report released last fall, the OPA in its role to ensure an adequate, long-term supply of electricity for Ontario, identified the need and rationale for the new line to provide transmission capability to reliably transmit power from approximately 1,700 MW of new renewable generation identified in the region, as well as power from refurbished units at the Bruce Power facility.

The proposed 180-kilometre, 500 kV transmission line, Ontario's newest clean energy corridor, is planned to be in-service by December 2011. The Bruce to Milton project is the second clean, renewable transmission investment announced in recent months and represents an approximate investment of over $600 million in Ontario's transmission system.

The project is subject to both the Environmental Assessment (EA) Act and Ontario Energy Board (OEB) approvals. The company will initiate the EA process and will file a Section 92 (leave to construct) application with the OEB simultaneously to meet the service date for the line. Hydro One is committed to open consultation throughout the required approvals process.

 Provincial land use policy requires that existing transmission corridors be utilized to the extent possible for new transmission lines. As such, Hydro One proposes widening the existing 500 kV corridor and constructing the new line along the north and east side of the widened existing corridor, to avoid the need to establish a new right-of-way. Rights to an additional 53-61 metres (175-200 feet) of land adjacent to the existing corridor will be required. Widening the transmission corridor makes it necessary for Hydro One to obtain additional easement rights and, in a limited number of cases, purchase properties.

Alberta towns benefit from CAMRIF funding

The Government of Canada supports rural infrastructure development through partnership agreements with the provinces. The Canada-Alberta Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (CAMRIF) is designed to address local infrastructure needs in rural and urban Alberta. The federal-provincial CAMRIF agreement provides $88 million each in federal and provincial funding for municipal infrastructure renewal and with the matching one-third contributions from municipalities, total program funding will be at least $264 million.

"CAMRIF (www.camrif.ca) is implemented by Western Economic Diversification Canada and Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation, and is administered by a joint secretariat. The management committee consists of: two federal representatives, two provincial representatives, one member from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and one member from the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties. The committee develops the management committee guidelines and oversees the project review and selection process. Projects are selected on a competitive basis from applications received from Alberta communities. CAMRIF projects are required to successfully complete applicable environmental assessment processes, and funding is conditional on compliance with all applicable federal and provincial requirements.

Program Priorities

A minimum of 55 percent of funding under CAMRIF targets "green infrastructure" projects that contribute to community economic development and environmental quality of life. These include water, wastewater, solid waste, environmental energy improvements and public transit. The fund also invests in recreational infrastructure, tourism and cultural projects, local roads and broadband connectivity. At least 80 percent of CAMRIF funding is dedicated to rural municipalities with a population of less than 250,000. The remaining 20 percent is available to urban municipalities with a population greater than 250,000.

A total of nearly $1.8 million is also available to municipalities for municipal capacity building projects. Projects may include, but is not limited to, the acquisition of infrastructure planning software, training to use that software, planning studies to determine the inventory and condition of infrastructure assets in the municipality or the development of a demand asset management system.

For more information on CAMRIF, contact Donna Kinley, Western Economic Diversification Canada at (708) 495-6892 or Jerry Bellikka, Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation at (780) 415-1841.

Manitoba leads in geothermal technology

Recently, Manitoba reached a major milestone with more than 5,000 installations of geothermal units, which save money by reducing heating bills. On a per-capita basis, Manitoba installs geothermal at more than three times the Canadian average.

While the capital cost of installing geothermal is higher than other conventional sources of heat, the rate of installations began to accelerate quickly in 2002 when Manitoba Hydro endorsed geothermal and began offering Power Smart loans. The loans can be paid back out of the energy savings, which, in an average residential home are about half the cost of a high-efficient furnace or electric baseboard heat.

On average there are over 200 commercial geothermal installations in Manitoba per year. Buildings in Winnipeg with geothermal include Shindico Reality, Investor's Group, Smith Carter Architects and Engineers and the new residence at the Canadian Mennonite University.  Buildings under development that will be using geothermal include the head offices of Manitoba Hydro and the new Winnipeg Humane Society. Rural Manitoba geothermal examples include the Westman Recycling complex in Brandon, the Warren arena, the Grand Marais fire hall, the Winkler water treatment plant, the Cedarwood Youth Camp near Lac du Bonnet, the Dean Cooley Motors Dealership in Dauphin and churches in St. Theresa Point and Brandon Hills.

For information on Manitoba Hydro's geothermal programs, including Power Smart Loans and Commercial Incentives, see www.hydro.mb.ca/earthpower/index.shtml.   

Montreal takes action on its sustainable development plan

Two years ago Montreal adopted its first strategic plan for sustainable development (ville.montreal.qc.ca/developpementdurable). Now Montreal and its 76 partners are proposing concrete actions to be completed in the 2007-2009 phase. The second phase builds on the start-up phase, consolidating four priority objectives: to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; ensure the quality of residential environments; practice responsible resource management; and adopt solid sustainable development practices.

Four of the actions in the plan's second phase are "identified as 'feature actions,' because they integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development and may be implemented by most organizations... suggesting that partners increase 'greening' efforts to counter heat-island effects, and take part in a program to offset greenhouse gas emissions resulting from business air travel. All are invited to hold eco-responsible events, to reduce waste volumes, promote local purchases, use fair-trade products and choose, whenever possible, businesses that are involved in the social economy when holding events. The community may also become involved to help Montreal become a UN university centre of expertise on education for sustainable development.

 Montreal plans to adopt a transportation plan and a solid waste management master plan in 2007... As per the recommendations of the master plan, the city will prevent green and organic wastes from reaching landfills. It will also implement recycling collection in half of Montreal's 22 large parks and develop legislation on water conservation.

Montreal is acting on three other fronts to: improve protection of biodiversity, natural environments and green spaces; mobilize Montreal organizations and residents to work toward sustainable development of the Montreal area; and offer residents municipal services and an environmental legislation, in a spirit of equity."

Manitoba's Pilot Mound and Notre Dame de Lourdes communities receive infrastructure funding

Through the Canada-Manitoba Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF), where the federal and provincial governments provide matching contributions to the investment of the municipality, Pilot Mound will receive $855,000 to further develop its Millennium Recreation Complex and replace several aging recreational structures. When completed, the complex will include an arena, a three-sheet curling rink, a day care facility, a theatre/cultural centre, and a fitness/wellness centre.

With its $240,000 MRIF contribution, the new Lourdéon Wellness Centre in Notre Dame de Lourdes will be able to expand its services to include a new community area with a library, a multi-purpose room and an exercise room.

According to the news release, MRIF (www.infrastructure.mb.ca) is "investing a total of $120 million in communities across Manitoba. Of the total funds, 80 percent of MRIF is earmarked for communities with a population under 250,000, including 198 municipalities and 50 unincorporated northern community councils in rural and northern Manitoba. The remaining 20 percent is for communities with populations over 250,000.

Humber East, Newfoundland & Labrador sees early road improvements

Roads in Humber East will receive $2.125 million worth of improvements this summer as part of the province's $60 million Provincial Roads Improvement Program. The pre-budget contribution of $60 million to improve provincial roads allows the work to commence earlier than in previous years.

In Humber East, government will invest $1.75 million to repair rutting on the Trans Canada Highway between Pasadena and Corner Brook and $375,000 to make repairs to the Humber Road Overpass on the Lewin Parkway, Corner Brook.

In addition, $500,000 will be spent to repair the retaining wall near Shellbird Island and $200,000 to continue construction of the interchange at Little Rapids. These projects are cost-shared with the federal government under the Canadian Strategic Infrastructure Fund.

Alberta legislates greenhouse gas reductions

According to the news release, "Alberta is the first province in Canada to introduce legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emission intensity from large industry.

Bill 3, Climate Change and Emissions Management Amendment Act and its accompanying specified gas emitters regulation state companies that emit more than 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year must reduce their emissions intensity by 12 percent starting July 1, 2007...

The specified gas emitters regulation details how companies can reduce their emissions intensity. These compliance options include making operating improvements, buying an Alberta-based offset to apply against their emission total or contributing to a new government fund that will invest in technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province...

Projects that qualify as offsets must be located in Alberta and spending from the technology fund will occur in the province. The technology fund could be used to further the development of carbon capture and management - an option which has great potential to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases worldwide."

Brampton, Ontario launches transit project, AcceleRide

The City of Brampton launched its bus rapid transit project, opening the new AcceleRide Project Office, located in the Works and Transportation building at the Flower City Community Campus on McLaughlin Road.

In addition to $95 million committed to AcceleRide by the Province of Ontario, in early March, the federal government announced it would also contribute $95 million. The transit project is slated to begin operations in late 2010, seamlessly linking Brampton to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Over the past two years, Brampton Transit has increased service levels by more than 25 percent and moved to a new grid-based route system, which set the foundation for the first phase of AcceleRide (www.bramptontransit.com).

The AcceleRide BRT strategic implementation plan will be used to guide the project delivery, creating a piece of infrastructure that uses distinctive and accessible vehicles and innovative transit technologies, as well as providing improved service. For more information, contact Suzanne Bass, Director Transit, City of Brampton at 905-874-2750. ext. 304 or sue.bass@brampton.ca.

Alberta funds supportive living project in Slave Lake

The Government of Alberta is providing almost $3.8 million to help develop 45 new affordable, supportive living units for seniors in Slave Lake that will help seniors with low to medium incomes by providing them with homes that meet their needs and allow them to remain in our community... The project proponent is the Lesser Slave Lake Regional Housing Authority. The total capital cost is estimated at $7.6 million. More information can be obtained by contacting Katrina Bluetchen, Alberta Seniors and Community Supports at (780) 415-9950.

Whistler, BC joins OneStop Business Registry

In late March 2007, the Municipality of Whistler joined BC's OneStop Business Registry - a growing partnership of local governments that provide business licence applications online. OneStop services can be accessed 24/7 at www.bcbusinessregistry.ca and during regular business hours, using the public access terminals in any of the over 100 OneStop locations throughout the province.

According to the news release, "the award-winning OneStop Business Registry was jointly developed by the Province of British Columbia, the Canada Revenue Agency and WorkSafeBC. OneStop services include:

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

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, WorkSafeBC, and local governments such as Whistler. The integrated services use the national business number as a common identifier."

BC communities embrace the province's "green" funding programs

More than 150 British Columbia communities are applying for the $81 million available in new provincial Green Cities infrastructure funding, which is comprised of three programs: Towns for Tomorrow, LocalMotion and BC Spirit Squares.

According to the news release, "to date, over 400 project applications have been submitted for consideration for the three programs. Those applications submitted by the Feb. 16, 2007 deadline are currently being reviewed, with successful projects to be announced later this spring. Communities that did not submit proposals this round will have another opportunity to access Towns for Tomorrow and LocalMotion funding, as they are multi-year programs.

Towns for Tomorrow (www.townsfortomorrow.gov.bc.ca) is a three-year, $21-million program geared to providing infrastructure funding for BC's smaller communities. LocalMotion (www.localmotion.gov.bc.ca) is providing $40 million over four years for projects that improve physical fitness and safety, reduce air pollution... including supporting cycling and pedestrian pathways. BC Spirit Squares (www.spiritsquares.gov.bc.ca) is a $20-million program aimed at creating or enhancing outdoor public celebration spaces." For more information, contact Marc Black, Ministry of Community Services, 250-356-6334

BC partners to educate students about forest issues

The BC Market Outreach Network - a program of Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd., a Crown corporation committed to promoting BC forest practices and products internationally - has partnered with the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) to develop education kits for secondary school students about the mountain pine beetle, which has decimated the lodgepole pine - the dominant species found in BC forests.

According to the news release "a teacher's binder, classroom posters, video, slide show, vials containing adult beetles and larvae, and bark and wood samples are featured in the kits. The teacher's binder includes a lesson plan, curriculum connections, activities list, glossary of beetle-related terminology, background notes, and links to other learning resources.

The mountain pine beetle education kits have been distributed to more than 90 school districts across the province. A similar teacher resource was developed two years ago for students in grades 4-7. The secondary school kits build on the success of that project with more advanced curriculum and learning outcomes in mind."

In late March the community Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition (CCBAC) received $900,000 to complete its comprehensive Regional Community Economic Diversification Strategy for the region. In 2005, the coalition had received $1.6 million, which it used to "develop a comprehensive package of background reports and strategies to manage the beetle's environmental, economic and social impacts. Most recently, the coalition has developed a secondary wood products strategy, which aims to double the size of the sector by 2017."

Nova Scotia supports Halifax purchase of hybrid buses

A $600,000 funding commitment announced in late March from Conserve Nova Scotia will assist Halifax Regional Municipality and Metro Transit in the purchase of two hybrid electric-diesel buses. The hybrid buses, which could be in service within two years, use 25-30 percent less fuel and cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 30 percent compared to diesel buses.

New Saanich elementary school is LEED designed

The new $11.8-million elementary school to be built in North Saanich has been designed according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles. The new school replaces Saanichton elementary and McTavish elementary. According to the news release, "environmental features of the school include:

  • an anti-idling policy;
  • fresh air circulation through the classrooms;
  • a plan to replace lost forest and bush habitat for wildlife; and
  • site drainage that runs away from the adjacent organic farm.

Another design feature of the new school is the First Nations Cultural Centre. The Saanich school district has a strong relationship with its First Nations partners including the W'SANEC bands, the Saanich Indian school board and parents. This partnership will lead to First Nations culture and language programs in the new school that support all children and families."

As a result of extensive consultation, community traffic concerns have been addressed "by employing improved engineering of the entrance and exit to the parking lots, and a parent "Way to Go" committee has been formed to develop safe pedestrian access at the school and along surrounding streets and trails."

Northwest Territories funds environmental plans

In mid March 2007, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) released:

  • the new NWT energy plan (www.nwtenergyplanning.ca), which will guide and support decisions regarding the future development, generation and use of energy in the NWT, and
  • the revised NWT greenhouse gas strategy (www.enr.gov.nt.ca), which describes actions, measures and targets to support government, industry and individual efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the news release, the announcement "represents a total investment of $6 million to be spent on a number of projects throughout NWT, including the development of:

  • hydro resources including the potential development of mini-hydro-electric plants to service small isolated communities;
  • energy conservation programs to reduce household energy use;
  • an energy efficiency financing program to support energy-saving investments made by residents in their homes, appliances and vehicles;
  • alternative energy projects using wind and geothermal heat pumps; and,
  • projects using residual heating systems and surplus hydro capacity to heat public buildings.

Many of these initiatives share common priorities with the federal government's recently announced series of EcoEnergy programs, including the recently announced $5 million EcoTrust funding for the Northwest Territories."

Port Clements school becomes part of multi-purpose community centre

The Province of British Columbia, in partnership with the Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte school board and the Village of Port Clements, is investing $900,000 to replace Port Clements elementary school as part of a multi-purpose community centre.

The school and multi-purpose community centre will also receive $200,000 in local funds from the Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte school board and $1.67 million in Canada-BC Infrastructure program funds provided to the Village of Port Clements. In addition, the joint project is eligible for up to $165,000 from the school community connections program.

Construction on the new multi purpose complex is slated to start in April and it is hoped the complex will be ready for use in the spring of 2008."

Nova Scotia launches highway telephone reporting system

A telephone reporting system, the second stage of the province's improved road-information system, is now up and running... Dialing 1-800-307-SNOW (7669) connects travellers to a bilingual, interactive response system. Punching in a highway number provides an up-to-date report on the driving condition on specific road sections or select general roads. Reports are updated three times per day. Both the telephone system and the first stage of the road information system - the online access at www.gov.ns.ca/tran/winter/roadconditions.asp - were developed by Winnipeg based Telenium Inc.

Camosun College Pacific Sport Institute receives provincial funding

In late March, the Province of BC announced it will provide up to "an additional $6 million for Camosun College's Pacific Sport Institute to help construct a new venue and training centre for national and international athletes...

Phase One of construction will build a double gymnasium, sport science and sport medicine facilities, multi-purpose classrooms and labs, a resource centre, fitness and wellness facilities, student amenity spaces and an all-weather playing field. In total, the province is providing up to $24.5 million to Camosun College for this unique project with $18.5 million contributed from the Ministry of Economic Development. The Pacific Sport Institute's facilities will provide educational programming in sport leadership, coaching and sport science, athlete and coach development; and sport medicine within a single centre making it the first of its kind in Canada...

 "The dream of the Pacific Sport Institute has come to life with the assistance of many generous supporters," said Roger Skillings, CEO of PacificSport Victoria. "The provincial government's support is enhanced by major corporate donations, including $2 million from the Hudson's Bay Company and $1 million from Thrifty Foods. Coast Capital Savings Credit Union pledged $120,000, plus thousands more were pledged by local organizations, businesses and many individual donors."

BC award promotes greener cities

The province of BC has now opened nominations for its $2.5-million Green City Awards program that will recognize local governments that provide greener, healthier communities for their citizens.

According to the news release, "the Green City Awards program will provide up to $500,000 annually to municipalities and regional districts that encourage physical activity, energy conservation and environmental benefits. Judges will evaluate how initiatives support climate change mitigation and adaptation, raise awareness, and demonstrate innovation that is transferable to other communities. The inaugural awards will be announced at the Union of BC Municipalities annual conference this September."

For further information on the Green City Awards program and nomination forms, visit: www.greencityawards.gov.bc.ca.

BC Hydro seeks proposals for bioenergy

In support of the BC Energy Plan, which requires that at least 90 percent of electricity come from clean, renewable resources, BC Hydro launched the 2007 Bioenergy Call for Power with a request for expressions of interest to assess the potential of using wood fibre for power production. BC Hydro is asking for preliminary proposals in order to identify potential projects that will generate electricity from wood fibre fuel sources such as beetle-killed timber, sawmill residue and logging debris. The deadline for expressions of interest to be filed with BC Hydro was April 17, 2007. For more information, go to www.bchydro.com/2007bioenergy.

Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management launches new genealogical website

Nova Scotia has a new website that contains a database of one million historical birth, marriage and death registrations in the province dating back to 1864.

According to the news release, the "new website, developed in partnership with Unisys Canada Inc., is the latest innovative product from Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management... Visitors to www.novascotiagenealogy.com can view high-quality digitized images of original records online by simply entering a person's name. They can even order electronic files or paper copies of these records online."

The website is the culmination of more than three years of work, involving numerous partners and stakeholders within and outside government.

"It began with the transfer of historical records from Nova Scotia Vital Statistics to Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management in 2004. This is a process that will continue at a rate of approximately 12,000 additional records annually."

St. Peter's and Sampsonville, NS partner to improve their water supply

The Government of Canada and the province of Nova Scotia have invested $3,956,118 through the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund to provide The Village of St. Peter's and Sampsonville, Richmond Co. with improved drinking water. St. Peter's, in partnership with the Municipality of Richmond, will fund the balance after formal acceptance of the agreement and federal environmental assessment approval.

According to the news release, the "project includes the design and construction of a joint water utility system to serve the communities of St. Peter's and Sampsonville. This involves the development of a groundwater supply in Sampsonville, installation of a new watermain in both communities, and a new water storage tank."

The $111-million, six-year Canada-Nova Scotia Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund is administered by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation and the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities are members of the management committee.

Governments fund improved water and waste-water systems

In late March, the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia announced funding of $1,221,165 so that the residents of Mulgrave, Sherbrooke Village and Guysborough County will have improved water and wastewater systems, and 16 municipalities in Cape Breton and eastern Nova Scotia will have better solid-waste management systems. This was just one of many funding announcements made in that month in support of improved water and waste-water systems.

According to the news release, the "Town of Mulgrave and the districts of Guysborough and St. Marys will fund the balance of the project costs upon formal acceptance of the agreement.

The Guysborough project includes the design, site preparation, access-road construction and the preparation of liner materials of the Guysborough Second Generation Landfill. This landfill serves 16 municipalities and will improve solid-waste management practices for 100,000 households.

Mulgrave's project includes upgrades to the water utility and wastewater-treatment facility. About 400 households will have improved drinking water and better wastewater treatment.

The Sherbrooke Village project includes upgrades to the water utility that will provide 105 households with improved drinking water."

Saskatoon and partners give away energy efficient light bulbs

The City of Saskatoon, Saskatoon Light & Power and SaskPower have partnered to make Saskatoon a more energy-efficient community by giving away 5,000 ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). CFLs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, are at least 66 percent more energy-efficient than the old incandescent light bulbs, and save users up to $45 in electrical costs over the life of the bulb.

According to the news release "if all 5,000 bulbs in this total campaign were installed, and every one of the households involved purchased just one additional bulb, Saskatoon would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 767 tonnes every year! That would be equivalent to taking 153 cars off the road."

City of Windsor, Ontario builds new recreation complex

PCR Contractors is building the 300,000 square foot East Windsor Recreation Complex and has contracted with Coco Paving Ltd. to begin work on the foundation. The recreation complex includes three community rinks, a community centre and a spectator ice rink with seating for 6,500 people. The $65 million overall project has an aggressive timeline with building completion scheduled for fall 2008.

Fort St. John, BC opens new, high-tech city hall

The new city hall comes with all the equipment needed to run a modern office situated in a bright open workspace.  Council meetings will be broadcast over the Internet in addition to traditional broadcasting modes. According to the news release "all the material will be archived and it is possible to select the piece of the agenda you are interested in and click on that video clip."

Fredericton, NB conducts pilot on greening city buses

According to the news release, the City of Fredericton is conducting "a three-month pilot project to determine if city buses can reduce harmful emissions, get better mileage and enjoy longer engine life with less maintenance by adding a refined vegetable oil fuel conditioner to the diesel they currently burn.

The pilot project is a partnership between the City, Eastern Greenway Oils and the University of New Brunswick Chemical Engineering Department...

The City will test the vegetable oil product on three city transit buses, one from the 1985-96 class, one from the 1998-2002 era and on one of the newest additions to its fleet. It hopes to see an improvement in the colour and odour of emissions from the test buses as the diesel fuel is burned more efficiently.

The project will use 30 ml (an ounce) of refined vegetable oil for every 68 litres (15 gallons) of diesel."

SaskPower and partners convert exhaust heat to electricity

This spring SaskPower and NRGreen Power, a sister company to Alliance Pipeline, completed an innovative heat recovery project, that involves the capture of exhaust heat from Alliance Pipeline's natural gas compressor station in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan. Using patented technology, the waste heat is converted into electricity, which is then fed into the province's electrical grid.

The project at the Kerrobert compressor station will produce about 5 megawatts of "green" electricity - enough to power about 5,000 homes. This is the first of four waste heat units being built on Alliance's natural gas pipeline in Saskatchewan, as part of SaskPower's Environmentally Preferred Power (EPP) program. The EPP was designed to allow the provincial crown corporation to partner with the private sector to build and operate small-scale generation projects. For more information please contact lchristie@saskpower.com

Richmond, BC switches to healthier electric ice resurfacers

In an effort to provide a safe, healthy indoor environment in the city's recreation facilities, the City of Richmond, BC has switched from gas-powered ice resurfacers to electric-powered ones. It has been using its four new electric ice resurfacers on a daily basis at Richmond Ice Centre and Minoru Arena, one of the largest arena complexes in the province. According to the news release, the "switching to electric powered ice resurfacers has allowed the city to eliminate risks to the public and staff related to carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions from the older propane-powered machines. Before the machines were replaced, staff tested the propane machines' emission levels monthly, along with checking the air quality in each rink twice a day for CO and NO2 levels.

The new electric ice-resurfacers, called Olympia Ice Bears, cost just under $150,000 each and were purchased in 2006 through a regular equipment replacement schedule. Resurfice Corporation of Ontario assembles the Ice Bears which use a German electric design.

In comparison to propane machines, which are approximately $50,000 less, the health and environmental benefits of using electric over propane far outweigh the extra costs of the machines and the cost of extensive facility maintenance if the propane machines were still used."

New Brunswick's historic Connell House to be restored

An investment of more than $470,000 made by the Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, will revitalize Connell House (circa 1839), a unique heritage home and historic landmark in Woodstock, New Brunswick. The planned restoration will allow the Carleton County Historical Society to establish Connell House as a tourist destination with both permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as a venue for receptions and community events.

Saskatchewan's SaskTel improves cellular service province-wide

SaskTel, a provincial Crown Corportation, will invest an additional $2.4 million to bring digital cellular service to eight previously unserved northern communities and expand service to 31 locations across the province of Saskatchewan - the final phase of its $28 million expansion and improvement program. According to the news release, "when the current expansion is complete at the end of 2008, SaskTel digital cellular service will be available to more than 96 percent of the Saskatchewan population...

Paying promptly saves money, finds Toronto

By increasing financial controls over public funds, the City of Toronto has realized $1 million in savings that are being used as part of the city's operating budget.

According to the news release, "as a result of improvements to the city's accounting processes, in April 2005 the city officially launched the corporate-wide initiative to maximize the city's efforts in obtaining early payment discounts offered by vendors. Vendors offer a discount term, typically 2-3 percent, on their billing invoice for goods and services if paid within a specified period...

As of September 30, 2006, 90 percent of all the city's invoices were paid within the city's standard payment term of 60 days. In 2006, the city received 82 percent of the discounts that vendors offered to the city...

The city's rate for obtaining discounts from vendors increased from 30 percent in 2004 to 82 percent in 2006 - a 52 percent improvement. The city has also realized a dramatic 547 percent increase in vendor discounts received from 2004 ($96,835) compared to 2006 ($626,296).

As the amount of early payment discounts that the city receives increases, the number of vendors willing to offer the city early payment discounts also increases."


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