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In the News
November 2007

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  • Society reconstructs cooperage

    The Government of Canada has invested more than $81,000 in a project headed by Newfoundland’s Trinity Historical Society – the reconstruction of a cooperage and a living history exhibit depicting the life of a traditional cooper – that will help the tourism industry in the local area. A cooper is a barrel maker.

    According to the news release, “the cooperage, being built on the Lester-Garland Premises, will further preserve the history and heritage of the region and expand upon current cultural attractions in the area.

    The two-storey cooperage will be the same size as the original, built in the late 1700s. The first floor will be used for living history demonstrations in barrel making and will also include a display of cooper’s tools. The second floor will be used for cleaning and polishing items before being sold. The plans for the cooperage are based on archival documents, archaeological evidence, photographs, maps and paintings of the original buildings. The Trinity Historical Society will also pilot a training course at the cooperage to ensure skills are passed on and to act as an economic generator for the society.”

    Saskatchewan increases space at SIAST

    The Province of Saskatchewan is making a $14 million capital investment for the purchase and renovation of a 37,000 square foot building in Saskatoon, formerly owned by SaskPower. The building will be used by students and staff at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST), According to the news release, when the new space opens in September 2008, learners in construction trades, steel fabrication, electrical, masonry and emergency medical technician training programs will occupy the building.

    Thunder Bay gets new emergency services training facility

    In mid August 2007, the Province of Ontario announced an investment of $500,000 in a new training facility for the Thunder Bay and Region Protective and Emergency Services Training Corporation and its partner, the Thunder Bay District Fish and Game Association Incorporated. The investment is in addition to the previous contribution of $1.7 million from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation that provided the project with significant start up capital. The facility should attract students from all over Ontario.

    Newfoundland College of North Atlantic gets repairs and upgrades

    Bluebird Investments Ltd. of Grand Falls-Windsor was has been awarded a $560,000 contract to replace the heating and ventilation system at the College of the North Atlantic (CAN) campus in Grand Falls-Windsor in Newfoundland, and Tech Construction Ltd. of Corner Brook will carry out a roof and siding replacement, valued at $102,900, at CNA in Stephenville. Also at the Stephenville campus, EFCO Enterprises Limited is making ventilation improvements at the Martin Gallant Building at a cost of $401,900.

    The College of the North Atlantic, with its 17 campuses located primarily in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, provides a wide range of programs to thousands. According to the news release, “in addition to the $28 million allocated in the past two years in infrastructure investments for CNA, millions more have been announced for other initiatives, including $1.5 million for new programs and course offerings, and $1.2 million to expand adult learning opportunities. This year alone, $2 million is being provided to the college to ensure equipment and learning resources are being upgraded. Also, $1.1 million has been allocated since 2006 to improve support services and improve accessibility for students with disabilities.”

    North Okanagan gets upgrades to solid waster infrastructure

    Almost $2.6 million from the federal gas tax fund will provide upgrades to solid waste infrastructure and a new planning process to manage growth and transportation in the North Okanagan region of BC.

    According to the news release, “the projects to be funded include a new regional yard waste composting facility, a residential drop-off facility at the Greater Vernon Landfill, and a new regional growth strategy and transportation model for the North Okanagan. Funding for the projects is provided through the Gas Tax Agreement, which transfers federal gas tax revenue to local government infrastructure improvements that result in cleaner air, cleaner water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The regional growth strategy will benefit the North Okanagan by incorporating integrated sustainability policies and regulations into NORD land use policies. The growth strategy will also integrate the inter-regional transportation model to provide a comprehensive transportation plan for sustainable development in the North and Central Okanagan regions. It is anticipated that the diversion of solid waste from the landfills will lead to the reduction of greenhouse gases. The waste composting facility alone is expected to divert more than 11,000 tonnes of waste per year.

    Halifax explores geothermal energy storage technology

    Halifax Regional Council is discussing an extensive energy efficient retrofit of Halifax Regional Municipality’s (HRM) municipal building in downtown Dartmouth. According to the news release, “if approved, the project will employ a world-first geothermal energy storage technology, which was developed by engineers in HRM.

    The Alderney 5 Energy Project will use natural gas and leading-edge geothermal technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 900 tonnes per year as part of Council’s continuing commitment to meet a 20 percent greenhouse gas reduction target. HRM’s Energy and Underground Services Committee approved the project this month and [has recommended] it to Regional Council for approval.

    ‘This new technology will save taxpayers significantly in future operating costs and capital costs, such as the chiller replacement for conventional air conditioning. It effectively uses a natural renewable energy source at our doorstep for air conditioning needs – the ocean and the ground underneath us,” Councillor Younger said. “With the pending phase out of CFC based-air conditioning and the increasing demands for air conditioning in a warming world, this technology is a prime example of smart sustainable energy solutions. We are especially pleased as a committee to be working with the locally-based private partner, High Performance Energy Systems.’

    Cold energy will be harvested during the winter months and stored underground in the rock mass via a new design of borehole heat exchanger. A geothermal borehole field consisting of 100 holes, 600 feet deep each, will be drilled onsite in the Alderney Landing parking lot.

    If approved, the municipality’s $2.6 million contract commitment will be funded from $250,000 in annual energy savings. The 33 percent reduction in total energy consumption will be a result of heating, cooling and lighting retrofits. The project will also demonstrate an innovative seasonal geothermal energy storage technology that will enable the properties to use 100 percent renewable energy for air conditioning needs year round... High Performance Energy Systems has secured $1 million in federal funding for the new technology and is collaborating with Environment Canada and the International Energy Agency during the demonstration.”

    Labrador City public library gets emergency repairs

    The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has approved $300,000 in funding to address capital maintenance issues which forced the closure of the public library in Labrador City in late March. Work to be carried out on the building includes sewage system and floor repairs, exterior grading, installation of foundation insulation for frost protection and repairs to exterior walls and windows.

    In early August, the City of Guelph retained RLB Chartered Accountants to provide financial advice in the interim period until a new city treasurer is hired at the end of October. According to the news release, “the firm will provide financial advice, opinions, and financial modelling as required. They will work in consultation with the city’s finance department, senior management team, and interim CAO.”

    Government funds projects to make Atlantic communities safer

    In early August 2007, the federal government announced more than $1.4 million in funding for seven projects to help Atlantic Canadians make their communities safer. As part of Public Safety Canada, the National Crime Prevention Centre (NCPC) provides funding to strategically selected projects that contribute to preventing and reducing crime in Canada and to increasing knowledge about what works in crime prevention.

    Halifax’s Youth Opposing Gang Activity is one of those projects. “This project is extremely important to inner city youth and the families living here. Funding from the federal government will enable the Halifax Library and its community partners to enhance the life skills, the literacy and the opportunities of inner city youth,” said Tracey Jones from the Halifax Regional Library.

    Crime prevention funding is focused on priorities established in partnership with stakeholders, using careful analysis of key crime trends. Priorities for support include:

    -       addressing early risk factors among vulnerable families, children and youth at risk;

    -       responding to priority crime issues (youth gangs, drug-related crime);

    -       preventing recidivism among high risk groups; and

    -       fostering prevention in Aboriginal communities.

    Saskatchewan’s Building Communities Program funds local infrastructure

    The Building Communities Program is providing $100 million for cultural and recreational infrastructure over three years, beginning in 2006-07. The program seeks to ensure the sustainability of cultural and recreational infrastructure in communities throughout [Saskatchewan]. It is the largest per capita cultural and recreational infrastructure program in Canada. Information on the Building Communities Program can be found on the Culture, Youth and Recreation website at www.cyr.gov.sk.ca.

    • Weyburn. Saskatchewan has invested $2,383,636 from its Building Communities Program towards the renovation of the Weyburn Colosseum – an integral part of Weyburn's recreational infrastructure for over four decades.
    • North Battleford. Saskatchewan has invested $7 million from its Building Communities Program towards the new North Battleford multipurpose facility.
      According to the news release, “the Multipurpose Facility will include an aquatic centre, a curling rink, two soccer pitches with a walking/jogging track, and a 450-seat performing arts centre. The facility will be jointly financed and operated by the city of North Battleford, the town of Battleford and the Battlefords Tribal Council.

    New Brunswick funds nursing home in Grand Falls

    Planning has already started for the new $13.8-million, 69-bed nursing home in Grand Falls, NB. According to the news release, “the new nursing home will expand to accommodate spacious resident rooms and washrooms, wider hallways, and additional storage space. The new facility will also have modern dining rooms, a palliative-care family room, and additional private rooms.

    The province's renewed Nursing Home Renovation and Replacement Plan will see an additional 125 nursing home beds created, and an investment of $114.5 million in nursing home infrastructure over the next three years. Other nursing home projects include Caraquet, Fredericton, McAdam, Rexton, Robertville, Shippagan and Quispamsis.

    Alberta invests in bio energy

    According to the news release, Alberta’s “$209-million Bio-Energy Producer Credit program will encourage further investment in the province's emerging bio-energy industry through financial incentives for producers, while advancing new markets for agricultural and forestry products.

    Every litre of ethanol and bio-diesel or kilowatt hour of bio-generated power produced commercially may be eligible to receive the bio-energy producer credit. This will encourage producers of all sizes to effectively contribute to the marketplace. The credits will be available to eligible bio-energy products processed in Alberta between April 1, 2007 and March 31, 2011.

    The Bio-Energy Producer Credit program is the centrepiece of the Alberta government's $239-million Nine-Point Bio-Energy plan. Two other grant programs – the Bio-Refining Commercialization and Market Development program and the Bio-Energy Infrastructure Development program – account for an additional $30 million to promote the development of an economically viable bio-energy market in the province. The first grant recipients and $5 million in funding were announced in April, and additional recipients will be announced in the coming weeks.

    More information on the Bio-Energy Producer Credit program is available on the Alberta Energy website at www.energy.gov.ab.ca. Applications can also be found on the website and are being accepted.”

    Newfoundland and Labrador invest in new road surface sealing method

    The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is investing in the bituminous surface treatment (BST) method of road surface-sealing: an innovative and cost-effective alternative to conventional asphalt technology, that will be used to upgrade road systems in the Town of Terra Nova. The province will contribute $116,000 of the $162,122 to the project, with the remainder of the funding supported by Terra Nova.

    According to the news release, the “BST application uses a cold applied liquid asphalt emulsion which is applied to the gravel surface and over-layed with a uniformly graded crushed rock aggregate to complete the surface. This method has been previously used on the Trans Labrador Highway and has extended the life of portions of that road network.”

    Moncton receives federal funds to upgrade public transit

    In late summer, the federal government provided the City of Moncton more than $2.66 million in federal funding for public transit system improvements under the Canada–New Brunswick Agreement on Public Transit.

    According to the news release, “the funding supports a five-year capital investment plan in which Codiac Transit will buy eight wheelchair-accessible, low-emission buses and an airport shuttle bus. Codiac Transit, which serves the communities of Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview, also plans to build five new bus shelters. This includes shelters at the Université de Moncton and Dieppe City Hall that will serve as solar-powered demonstration sites. Four intermodal transit stations, which will be designed to incorporate active transportation features and accommodate other public transportation modes including taxis, intercity and tour coaches as well as airport shuttles, are also planned.

    This investment will enhance service and increase route frequency by introducing an arterial shuttle system. The city is also working with local post-secondary institutions to develop a pass for students.”

    Port of Halifax contracts Unisys Canada for a biometric access control system

    According to the news release in mid August 2007, the Halifax Port Authority announced that it awarded Unisys “a contract to develop and manage a biometric credentialing and access control database system (CACDS) for approximately 4,000 of its port workers. Transport Canada and the port will fund the project, scheduled for completion Nov. 30.

    The Halifax Port Authority commissioned the credentialing and access control database system in compliance with Transport Canada’s Marine Transportation Security Act and corresponding regulations. 

    Vascular scanning for reliable, secure access control

    Unisys will integrate vascular scanning technology to identify port workers as part of the CACDS system. An infrared scan of the back of the cardholder’s hand will be embedded in a smart card, which also will include the holder’s photograph. This vascular image, which is recognized by a non-invasive infrared sensor, will be used to identify the card holder when he or she presents the card and places the back of his/her hand in the scanner.

    Verification is instantaneous and is achieved when the blood flow pattern of the holder’s hand matches the pattern of the scan stored on the card…

    Secure access and data storage

    Unisys will design and develop the secure database containing the names of participating port workers. The port’s access control system will manage multi-level access control to permit entry to various secure facilities only to those individuals with proper clearances and approved access. The system would deny access to those who do not have appropriate credentials. The biometric is stored only on the individual card, not in the database, eliminating the possibility of the file being stolen or corrupted.

    The system also controls exits. Workers must use the card and verify their identity when they leave an area into which the card granted them access. In an emergency situation, authorized individuals can override this requirement so as not to impede evacuation processes.

    Flexibility and scalability

    The CACDS, based on open architecture, and its accompanying smart card have the ability to incorporate and layer additional biometrics and/or integrate with other transportation security systems not currently supporting vascular imaging. Scalability provides for future integration of emerging technology requirements as well…

    The access control solution enabled by CACDS is compliant with Transport Canada’s specifications/requirements. The scanner enclosures are environmentally sturdy, in that the scanner will work in 100 percent humidity and also at minus 50 degrees C. The system is not port-specific and can be tailored for use anywhere that access controls are necessary…

    Unisys partners will help enable secure business operations

    Unisys partners on the CACDS project bring to bear specific expertise that enable the integration of the newest and most promising biometric technologies for a complete security solution:

    • Identica, a manufacturer and supplier of unique biometric identification solutions, will provide the hand vascular screening units;
    • ImmediaC, a Halifax-based developer of Web-enabled databases, will ensure that the new system is fully integrated with the port’s existing credentialing reservation system;
    • SimplexGrinnell, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco International, is providing security installation and deployment expertise, as well as OnGuard software, from Canadian company Lenel Systems International Inc. OnGuard forms the backbone of the credentialing system; and
    • xwave, one of Atlantic Canada’s largest information technology companies, will conduct software engineering and testing.”

    Taylor, BC receives funding to upgrade water system

    In mid-August 2007, the District of Taylor, BC received $1,123,000 in funding from the federal gas tax fund to upgrade its drinking water system – a project Taylor wants to complete within 2 years. According to the news release “the project involves three linked components:

    • sealing the district's treated water storage facility in order to enhance water quality;
    • relocating or stabilizing the water main to the community in order to improve delivery reliability; and
    • twinning the water reservoir to provide additional storage capacity.”

    From 2005 to 2010, the Government of Canada is providing $635.6 million to BC through the Gas Tax Agreement. As part of its $33 billion “Building Canada” plan, the federal government extended the gas tax fund by an additional $2 billion per year nationally, from 2010 to 2014. For more information on the agreement visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca or www.civicnet.bc.ca.

    Saskatchewan contributes to Prince Albert facility

    In mid August 2007, Saskatchewan’s Building Communities Program provided $1,740,689 towards the renovations of the Art Hauser Centre, a sport, entertainment and banquet facility located in the City of Prince Albert. According to the news release, this particular investment will go towards “the installation of a fire protection sprinkler system in the arena, along with a variety of upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.”

    The province’s Building Communities Program is providing $100 million for cultural and recreational infrastructure over three years, beginning in 2006-07. The program seeks to ensure the sustainability of cultural and recreational infrastructure in communities throughout the province. It is the largest per capita program of its kind in Canada.

    Edmonton evaluates diesel transit vehicles

    In mid August, the City of Edmonton began an eight-month evaluation of clean diesel buses, hybrid buses and new trolleys. According to the news release, “all of the units will be used in regular service and undergo special testing.

    The evaluation will include purchase and operating costs, reliability, fuel efficiency, noise generation and environmental impact. Results will be compared to the 2006 diesels and present trolleys.

    The city is committed to providing the best public transit possible while being environmentally and fiscally responsible. …The University of Alberta is coordinating the testing. A preliminary report is expected in the spring of 2008. The project is being managed by the city’s Mobile Equipment Services Branch which looks after maintenance on city-owned vehicles, including the transit fleet.

    The evaluation involves 13 buses. The information will help determine the future makeup of the City of Edmonton’s public transportation fleet.” More information can be obtained by contacting Gary Dyck at 780-496-8676 or visiting www.edmonton.ca.

    Saskatchewan Biofuels Investment Opportunity program ready to go

    Details of the Saskatchewan Biofuels Investment Opportunity (SaskBIO) program were unveiled on August 10 in Saskatoon. Applications are invited from interested organizations. According to the news release, “the new website, found on www.saskatchewan.ca, provides access to application forms as well as information on biofuels, from its environmental benefits to information for farmers. The new $150,000 marketing campaign, which runs domestically and nationally, will make its way into popular print publications over the next few weeks…telling everyone that Saskatchewan is the place to invest in biofuels, and that this program is the key to developing the industry in [the] province.” For more information, contact Jenna Robertson at 306-787-2359 or jroberts@agr.gov.sk.ca.

    Med-Eng develops new high-tech helmet

    In July, Ottawa-based Med-Eng Systems Inc. launched its EOD 9A helmet, which it describes as the world's first blast protection helmet. It actively shields its on-board support systems allowing bomb disposal technicians to work without interference from disruptive radio waves created by hostile electronic counter-measures (ECM) equipment. The helmet was designed by Med-Eng, in co-operation with the Canadian Research and Technology Initiative, and sponsored by the RCMP.

    Edmonton police test Segways

    This summer, Edmonton city police joined other police forces in Canada to test Segways – a self-balancing, stand-up two wheeled scooter that runs on electricity.

    Two machines fitted with specialized equipment were donated to the Edmonton police by Segway Canada. They go no faster than 20 km/h and can travel up to 38 kilometres on a single electrical charge, depending on speed and terrain. The Segway is easy to manouever and relatively effortless to use.

    New industry alliance offers government comprehensive technology architecture to protect and share information

    According to the news release in July 2007, “Cisco®, EMC® Corp. and Microsoft Corp. announced the formation of an alliance of technology vendors that will offer one of the most comprehensive, security-enhanced, commercial, multi-vendor, end-to-end information-sharing technology architecture for helping protect and share sensitive government information.

    The secure information sharing architecture (SISA) combines industry-leading applications, information infrastructure, and networking technologies to help protect customers’ existing information technology (IT) investments. This architecture offers a consistent approach for breaking down the barriers across traditional organizational and jurisdictional IT infrastructure boundaries, so sensitive human resources, financial and other information that is critical to mission accomplishment can have increased protection and be shared among authorized communities more effectively than if they were not to deploy SISA… Cisco, EMC and Microsoft, with support from other industry leaders, founded the SISA alliance to develop IT architecture that would permit only authorized personnel access to specific information while easing the management of shared, protected information across trusted communities…

    Historically, information protection technologies have been enforced system-by-system, creating islands of protected data. Some government agencies are having trouble providing role-based access to sensitive content within their own organizations, and the problems become much more difficult when sharing sensitive content across different agencies. By utilizing SISA, government agencies can more easily set up security-enhanced, virtual networks for different authorized users and communities to access sensitive files stored in different information protection systems. SISA will enable new scenarios for cross-government information sharing. For example, in the future SISA could be deployed to allow public health officials to monitor confidential data on pandemics found in different government agencies and private sector databases, and coordinate necessary response efforts with both government agencies and critical private sector partners.

    Cisco, EMC and Microsoft are providing the core commercial off-the-shelf technology that makes up SISA to ease the sharing of information contained in disparate IT infrastructure. Through its industry-leading networking solutions, Cisco provides network protection, security-enhanced virtualized network links, and data protection features for sharing sensitive information across the network platform. EMC’s networked storage systems, information management and security software provide a flexible information infrastructure for storing, managing and helping protect critical and sensitive data. Microsoft provides identity management, client and network operating systems, and a collaboration framework that helps keep content in the hands of authorized users.

     The SISA alliance also includes technology vendors that bring innovative approaches to fulfill specific requirements. Six companies are working together to deliver a technology architecture for helping to protect and share sensitive information for governments. This working relationship highlights the complexity of SISA and showcases the need for a well-defined go-to-market strategy.

    The formalized business alliance will be managed by Addx Corp., a principal provider of information and management sciences services. With the goal of providing the full range of technical and program services to all customers, Addx established the SISA joint program office to manage both the solution architecture and the systems integrator certification process. For more information on SISA and the Alliance, see www.SISAalliance.com.”

    BC introduces environmental handling fees on electronics

    On August 1, 2007 British Columbia retailers began charging an environmental handling fee on the sale of designated electronic products including televisions, computers, monitors, fax machines and printers. Stereos, CD/DVD players and cellular phones are not yet being accepted. Depending on the product, fees range from $5 to $45 and are non-refundable. The new handling fee allows consumers to dispose of their old electronic equipment in a more environmentally-friendly manner, returning them for recycling at several authorized collection sites across the province (identified by a Return-It Electronics symbol), easing the congestion and contamination in local landfills. Electronic products contain toxic metals like lead, mercury and cadmium, which can end up in surface and groundwater. Because those materials are valuable and reusable, old electronics are often illegally exported for salvage to developing countries with very poor labour practices. BC’s new regulations require industry to safeguard against such questionable activities.

    The program was introduced by the Electronic Stewardship Association of BC (ESABC), an industry-led agency which has contracted Encorp Pacific, a federally incorporated not-for-profit product stewardship corporation, to manage the program.

    UN contracts Canadian travel firm that builds eco-friendly travel program

    In late July 2007, MKI Travel & Conference Management of Ottawa (MKI) was selected by the United Nations Secretariat for Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to manage the global travel requirements of its employees, delegates and regional offices for the next three years.  

    According to the news release, “after winning the contract competition, MKI approached the CBD for advice on how it could contribute to the CBD environmental goals. The resulting collaboration is the development of a first-of-its-kind travel program in Canada called MKIgreen.

    What makes this program unique is that it automates the tracking and reporting of carbon emissions of their entire organization’s air travel. MKI submits a report back to the client in monthly or quarterly instalments, detailing their corporate carbon emissions and the amount of credits that are needed for an off-set. Customers can choose to pay the full amount or contribute according to their means. Through the program, emissions are off-set by the purchase of carbon credits from Africa’s Green Belt Movement. MKI manages the transactions and ensures that the entire contribution is invested in the Green Belt Movement. …MKIgreen will be available to all MKI clients.

     The Green Belt Movement

    MKI and the CBD chose the Green Belt Movement based on its international reputation and because it was judged to provide the strongest environmental impact. Studies show that tropical trees are one of the most efficient ways to neutralize greenhouse gases. The Green Belt Movement also makes a valuable contribution to African development.

    The Green Belt Movement [http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/] is one of the world’s most prominent environment organizations. Based in Kenya, its mission is to empower communities worldwide to protect the environment and to promote good governance, human rights and cultures of peace.”

    More military contracts awarded through sole-sourcing option

    A Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives study, which references data provided by Public Works and Government Services Canada, says that over the last year, 40 percent of non-war-related military contracts for various supplies have been awarded without following a competitive process. War-related procurement is conducted under different rules. The report, released in June 2007, also says that sole-sourcing is on the rise, as is the value of the sole-sourced contracts – in fiscal year 2004-2005 almost 35 percent of the contracts awarded did not involve a competition; by fiscal year 2006-2007, that had increased to 41 percent.

    Sole sourcing is an option for federal procurement when specific market and dollar value conditions are met, one of the most important being that no other supplier can provide the specified good or service. Recently the federal Auditor General expressed concern about the use of sole-sourcing as opposed to the competitive process, which is intended to provide the government with best value for dollar spent.

    Alberta and the federal government to evaluate barley’s potential as biofuel

    Alberta’s biofuels opportunities for producers initiative (BOPI) is providing funding of $262,000 for a project to evaluate barley’s potential in the evolving biofuels industry.

    According to the news release, “the three-phase barley and bioproducts opportunities project (BBOP) is jointly funded and managed by the Western Barley Growers Association and the Alberta Barley Commission. BBOP is supported by industry partners Syngenta ($45,000), Ceapro ($10,000), Wilbur-Ellis Canada ($2,000) and Parkland Agri Services ($1,000). In all, BBOP will invest $380,000 in examining barley’s feasibility in a number of emerging applications; specifically, researchers will study the opportunities and challenges growers would face to establish regional, barley-based ethanol production facilities. The project will also look at removing valuable fractions from barley prior to ethanol production and using a by-product of barley ethanol production – distilled grains – in commercial applications, including cattle feed

    The project’s first task will be to determine the relative competitiveness of barley versus other major crops, by analyzing ethanol yield and the amounts of starch and sugar that can and can’t be extracted. The project will report in its initial findings in September 2007 and its final findings in March 2008.”

    County of Grande Prairie awards contract for parks and open spaces study

    Due to continuing growth and development pressure, in March the county of Grande Prairie in Alberta issued a request for proposal for a ‘parks and open spaces’ study to assess the role of its parks and determine the potential of creating neighborhood parks from municipal reserves. After evaluating the submissions, Environmental Dynamics Inc. was awarded the contract. “E.D.I. is a private, employee owned Western Canadian company with offices located in Grande Prairie, Prince George, Vancouver and Whitehors. The county owns and operates 8 parks and campground facilities within its boundaries, seven of which offer overnight camping, while one offers day use facilities only. The county also maintains playgrounds in a number of subdivisions.”

    City of Moncton provides free WiFi in downtown

    Under a pilot project using state of the art ‘wireless mesh’ technology, effective June 22, 2007, the City of Moncton began offering free wireless Internet in certain areas in its downtown core – the zones will by identified by WiFi signage.

    According to the news release, “the creation of a downtown Moncton wireless network aligns with a number of initiatives supported by the City of Moncton. Initiatives such as Moncton’s strategic plan, the city’s downtown visioning exercise and economic development strategy and Moncton technology planning group’s technology growth strategy all identify technology as a major catalyst for growth and expansion within a city. Wireless zones in the downtown area will be identified by the city’s WiFi signage.”

    Saskatoon Transit converts entire fleet to bio-diesel

    In early June 2007, Saskatoon Transit began running its entire fleet of 125 buses on a one percent bio-diesel mix. According to the news release, “bio-diesel reduces emissions to the environment and also reduces operating costs. Saskatoon Transit has been involved in a bio-diesel research project (Phase I & II) since 2002.

    The 5 percent canola bio-diesel mix tested in Phase II of the bio-diesel research project from 2003 to 2005 has proven:

    • reduced fuel consumption (average of 3 percent); cost savings (just under 1 cent/litre based on current fuel costs);
    • approximately 20 percent less engine wear, which has the potential to extend the lifespan of an engine, as well as decrease maintenance costs; and
    • a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 7 percent.

    Phase III testing of a 5 percent bio-diesel mix began on June 4 as well on two of Saskatoon Transit’s newer buses. Phase III testing will occur over the next year, and will monitor fuel use, lubricity, and emissions to analyze how a 5 percent mix works with the latest bus technology (hybrid and non-hybrid).”

    For more information on the bio-diesel research project, visit www.saskatoon.ca or call Jeff Balon, manager, Saskatoon Transit at 975-2630.

    Langley’s new civic facility earns LEED-CI silver rating

    The Township of Langley’s new civic facility,  located at 20338 - 65th Ave., and constructed out of existing office space, recently earned a LEED-CI silver rating.

    According to the news release, the township’s financially efficient and environmentally friendly civic facility “…is the first municipal hall building in Canada to be LEED certified in the commercial interiors (CI) category.

    The LEED green building rating system is the benchmark of green building innovation and excellence in Canada and the United States, and promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability.

    To achieve LEED-CI certification, a structure must reflect a commitment to sustainability and the preservation of the environment in its planning, design, construction, and use. The fact that the facility was created out of an existing structure helped score points towards certification … as did its use of green power and water conservation initiatives.

    Education also plays a role in the certification process, and there will soon be signage throughout the civic facility which outlines the various environmentally-friendly initiatives taken in the five LEED-CI categories of sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, material selection, and indoor environmental quality.”

    According to the news release, “the following qualities helped earn the LEED-CI silver rating:

    Site:

    As an adaptive reuse of an existing office space, the civic facility retained 60 percent of its existing interior materials and 70 percent of its existing exterior materials.

    The civic facility uses native plantings throughout its landscape to eliminate the need for irrigation and attract local songbirds and other indigenous species.

    The facility includes a minimum of 8 reserved carpool stalls. Eight carpools could eliminate up to 4,000 single occupant vehicle trips per year. An existing bus stop was relocated and a second one was added to make it easier for people to take public transit to the facility.

    The site also provides secure ground level storage for 16 bicycles, along with lockers, change rooms, and showers. Cycling, busing, or walking to work could save up to 5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

    Water:

    Ultra low-flow dual-flush toilets, automated faucets, and waterless urinals help reduce the facility’s potable water consumption by more than 30 percent.

    Energy:

    By reusing an existing building and sourcing materials locally during construction, the civic facility reduced carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 80 metric tonnes.

    The facility runs on Green Power Certificates, and uses clean, green energy with minimal or no emissions.

    A GeoExchange system, which relies on the earth’s natural thermal energy, is used for 75 percent of the building’s heating and cooling needs.

    Energy efficient lighting strategies reduce the building’s energy costs by more than 30 percent.

    The civic facility’s heating, ventilation, cooling, and lighting systems are controlled by a software program designed to maximize the efficient use of energy.

    Materials:

    During renovation and construction of the civic facility, more than 80 percent of discarded building and scrap materials were recycled or reused.

    Demolition concrete from the site was crushed and reused in the construction of the facility’s parkade.

    Most of the steel, glass, and cardboard removed from the building during renovation and construction was recycled.

    The facility’s millwork is made of wheatboard, a rapidly renewable, environmentally friendly product which eases the burden on our forests, as it is harvested from grains such as wheat, oats, and rye.

    More than 20 percent of the building’s materials were manufactured within a 1,000 km radius. Sourcing material locally helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

    Raised access flooring and demountable partition walls make the relocation of the civic facility’s workstations possible, and the flexible work space design will ensure adaptability for years to come.

    Indoor quality:

    More than 75 percent of the civic facility’s workstations have access to natural daylight and outdoor views.

    The facility’s workstations are made of a wood alternative that does not contain formaldehyde or other harmful chemicals.

    All adhesives, sealants, paints, and fabricated wood products used in the building have low volatile organic compound emission levels.”

    City of Red Deer offers new online ticket payment

    Red Deer citizens now have three different options for paying parking tickets, in-person at the city hall cashiers, by mail and online at the city’s website (www.reddeer.ca/onlineservices) using a valid credit card.

    Canada and Newfoundland & Labrador partner to construct Torbay Bypass

    The Government of Canada and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador have each committed $5 million to the $10-million project to construct the Torbay Bypass for the northeast Avalon region of Newfoundland.

    According to the news release, “the existing Route 20 through Torbay is the primary access route for the northeast Avalon region. The new bypass will complete an integrated transportation network that will link in communities north of St. John’s. Situated west of the Town of Torbay, the Torbay Bypass project will consist of upgrading the existing two-lane Route 20 through the Town of Torbay, and provide an alternate route around the town.

    Financial support is conditional on meeting applicable federal and provincial requirements, including the successful completion of environmental assessments required under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and the successful negotiation of a contribution agreement.

    The federal contribution is provided through the current Canada Strategic Infrastructure Plan (CSIF).”

    Ethanol plant opens in Quebec

    In late June, “GreenField Ethanol, Canada’s leading ethanol producer, officially opened its Varennes plant on June 20 – the first ethanol plant in the province of Quebec.

    GreenField’s Varennes plant will produce 120 million litres of ethanol each year from 12 million bushels of Quebec-grown corn. GreenField also has plants operating in Chatham and Tiverton, Ontario, and two more are under construction in Johnstown and Hensall, Ontario that are scheduled to be operating in 2008.

    GreenField Ethanol will be one of the top producers in North America with five operating plants, producing more than 700 million litres of ethanol per year by 2008…

    Recently, the federal government committed $2 billion to renewable fuels in Canada. The Quebec government has also announced a target of 5 percent renewable fuels content in all gasoline sold in the province by 2012.

    Petro-Canada has already purchased all of the ethanol that will be produced at the Varennes plant for the next 10 years.” For more information, visit the GreenField Ethanol website at www.greenfieldethanol.com.

    Nova Scotia demos new environmental technology for septic systems

    In late June, a local resident in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, volunteered to have his on-site septic system pumped using new environmental technology. The Altinex Mobile Dewatering Truck, used throughout Europe, demonstrated that the new technology reduces dependence on septage lagoons and lowers transportation costs. Septic pumpers using this technology will have to make fewer trips to and from discharge locations because the new truck can handle 10 times more septage than the trucks currently in use –  a savings of about 80 percent on fuel annually.

    According to the news release, the truck “pumps septic systems and then separates the liquids from the solids. The liquid portion is put back in the septic system, which reduces the threat of septic failure. The solid portion may be composted and used in landscaping, land reclamation, silviculture and the creation of biofuels.

    The dewatering truck technology is also a more cost-effective system which may encourage septic tank owners to pump more frequently. Several municipal governments and industrial users in Nova Scotia are in the early stages of planning to purchase the technology. For more information on Altinex Dewatering Technology, see the Department of Environment and Labour website at www.gov.ns.ca/enla.

    Online voting success in Markham, Ontario election

    According to the news release, “a report issued on June 8, [2007] by Delvinia Interactive, the Town of Markham’s digital agency for the 2006 election, indicates that online voting engages typically apathetic and difficult-to-reach citizens in the democratic process and offers a solution to voter apathy. The “Understanding the Digital Voter Experience” report documents the surge in online voters in Markham’s 2006 election and offers insight to municipal, provincial and federal levels of government that the benefits outweigh the risks associated with voting online.

    Among the report’s most significant findings:

    • 91 percent of those who voted online said they would be ‘very likely’ to vote online in the future.
    • One in five (21 percent) Markham online voters said they did not vote at all in the 2003 municipal election.
    • 88 percent of online voters in 2006 cite ‘convenience’ as their primary reason for voting online
    • Markham saw online voting jump 48 percent from 7,210 in 2003 to 10,639 online ballots cast in 2006.

    This contributed to an overall 2006 voter turnout of 37.6 percent, well above the typical turnout of 28 percent for a municipal election.

    The Delvinia report indicates early adopters prefer voting online and would like to see it used by other levels of government and their peers. Ninety percent of 2006 Markham online voters would be ‘very likely’ to vote online if it was offered in a provincial election, while 89 percent would do so for a federal election. Seventy-eight percent of online voters were ‘very satisfied’ with the online voting process, while 80 percent said they would be very likely to recommend online voting to others. Seventy-nine percent of online voters indicated that at least one other person in their household voted online in 2006.

    The site http://www.markhamvotes2006.ca acted as the primary communications hub for the Markham election, providing information on both online and ‘in line’ voting through compelling demos, video and animation. Traditional print and broadcast advertising, out-of-home, public relations, informational kiosks and voicemail broadcasts all worked together to raise awareness of Markham’s online voting initiative. In 2006, Delvinia refreshed the site design, enabled mobile text message alerts and added an Add Your Voice feature that offers citizens the opportunity to sound off on the voting process and election issues. The report, produced by Delvinia Interactive with results analyzed by Research Strategy Group, can be found at http://www.delvinia.com/egov.

    Contracts awarded for BC’s Employment Program for Persons with Disabilities

    In late June, contracts worth $18 million were awarded to three community-based service providers to deliver BC’s new Employment Program for Persons with Disabilities.

    According to the news release, “the new employment program will begin offering services in July. It is expected that 6,000 ministry and non-ministry clients will participate each year. The new program, available to all British Columbians with disabilities, replaces the previous program and now allows individuals to access both pre-employment services and planning and employment services through the same service provider. For example, participants may receive career planning assistance, employment skills training, employment placement and job retention supports.

    The ministry has selected the Neil Squire Society, BC Society of Training for Health and Employment Opportunities (THEO BC), and WCG International HR Solutions as the primary service providers. These providers, who will work closely with local community agencies, were chosen after a year-long program development and procurement process. This process included extensive consultations with service providers, clients, community agencies and ministry staff, during which the ministry posted a request for information in December 2006 and two requests for proposals that closed in April 2007.

    Later this year, to complement the new Employment Program for Persons with Disabilities services announced on June 18, the ministry will issue a third request for proposals for $2 million.

    Quebec septic tank sludge collection system project gets results

    The Regional County Municipality (RCM) of La Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, has obtained excellent results from its innovative septic tank sludge collection system project. According to the news release, “the RCM’s Centre de traitement et de valorisation des boues de fosses septiques is supported by a $1,050,000 loan from the Green Municipal Fund. At the Centre, sludge is dehydrated by rotary press technology, which separates liquids from solid matter. Liquids are sent to aeration tanks; residual sludge is mixed with forest waste to produce compost.

    The Regional County Municipality (RCM) of La Vallée-de-la-Gatineau is located about 40 kilometres north of the City of Gatineau. The jurisdiction is shared by 17 municipalities (Town of Maniwaki, Municipality of Aumond, Municipality of Blue Sea, Municipality of Bois-Franc, Municipality of Bouchette, Municipality of Déléage, Town of Gracefield, Municipality of Grand-Remous, Municipality of Kazabazua, Municipality of Lac Cayamant; Municipality of Lac Ste-Marie; Municipality of Low, Municipality of Messines, Municipality of Montcerf-Lytton; Municipality of Denholm, Municipality of Egan-Sud, Municipality of Ste-Thérèse-de-la Gatineau) and covers 13,424 square kilometres, making it one of the largest RCMs in the province of Quebec.”

    Nova Scotia supports Port Williams community centre expansion

    Nova Scotia is investing $206,000 “to help support the expansion and renovation of the Port Williams Community Centre. This money is part of the province’s commitment to invest $50 million in sport and recreation infrastructure over the next 10 years.

    The renovations include making the centre wheelchair accessible, improving meeting space for community dances, variety shows, and festivals, improving the heating system for winter use, and updating kitchen facilities.”

    Kelowna tests biodiesel in parks vehicles

    Kelowna will begin testing 5 percent biodiesel made from canola oil in 21 Parks division diesel vehicles, including trucks, mowers and tractors. The fuel mixture being tested is the only blend that engine manufacturers will warranty.

    According to the news release, “one SmartCar will also be part of the trial using a 50 percent blend of biodiesel – 50 percent biodiesel mixed with 50 percent regular fuel – except in the winter months when a blend of 20 percent will be tested. This test will negate the engine warranty but the city considers the test of this renewable fuel of sufficient importance to accept the risk.

    The city will conduct routine testing on the vehicles involved in the trial and if there are no adverse implications, the use of 5 percent biodiesel may be expanded to Yards vehicles and the Kelowna Fire Department’s fleet.

    The 5 percent blend biodiesel is not expected to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions – higher percentage blends would be required; however, the project is in line with the city’s commitment to protecting our environment.

    The test of this renewable fuel is made easier this year with the introduction of a Kelowna supplier. Dean Buse, Franchise Owner/Area Developer for 4Refuel is providing pre-mixed biodiesel directly to the city. Previously, biodiesel had to be trucked to Kelowna from Calgary. This product was not pre-mixed, which meant city staff had to mix the biodiesel with regular fuel on site.

    Including a provincial tax incentive, it will cost the city approximately 2½ cents more per litre to run on biodiesel rather than regular diesel.” For more information, contact Dale Beaudry, Kelowna Roadways/Equipment superintendent at 250-469-8909.

    Winnipeg introduces new wayfinding signage to the downtown

    New, bilingual, directional wayfinding signage in Winnipeg will show the location of major destinations in the downtown, “identifying such key destinations as city hall, the Manitoba Museum, The Forks, the convention centre, the MTS Centre, and Millennium Library. The city will be installing 101 new signs at 84 locations on major traffic routes in and out of the downtown. A further 7 sign locations will be added to bring the total to 91 once some downtown building projects are completed.

    Winnipeg is one of the first cities in North America to coordinate the design and appearance of directional signage for both interior and exterior traffic with three program components. The first component involved the interior directional signage located within the downtown weather protected walkway system. That signage was installed in 2006. The street signage is the next phase of the overall downtown wayfinding project.

    The second component now involves the placement of the outdoor wayfinding signage at a cost of $391,200 for manufacture and installation. The signs are made of aluminum plate similar to traffic signs. The outdoor signs coordinate in colour and design with the indoor signs in the walkway system. They are in three eye-catching colours, dark blue, aqua blue, and gold and have a reflective sheathing which will make them visible under headlights at night. The signs vary in size with the largest being 3’ wide x 8’ high (30cm wide x 240 cm high).

    The third component of the project involves the supply and installation of interior and exterior pedestrian directional maps and kiosks. Several of these have already been placed in and around the MTS Centre as a pilot project and further directional information kiosks will be installed later this year.


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