NEWS SUMMARY (April 22, 2002)Federal TPC fund invests $32.3M in BC high-tech firms
VANCOUVER, BC-Azure Dynamics, in Vancouver, is receiving $9 million in investment funding through Industry Canada's Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) program. The company will use the funds to develop and test hybrid electric vehicle technologies for use in light to medium-duty commercial vehicles such as delivery vans. This technology has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 50%. Azure was one of six British Columbia high-tech companies named by Industry Minister Allan Rock and Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal as recipients of a total of $32.3 million in TPC investments.
DynaMotive sells off industrial metal cleaning systems division
VANCOUVER, BC-DynaMotive Energy Systems has sold DynaPower, its metal cleaning subsidiary, to a group of former employees. This leaves the company free to focus exclusively on its work in the bioenergy field, specifically in the development of BioOil-related technology and systems. DynaMotive will retain ownership in all of DynaPower's intellectual property and expects to receive continuing patent royalties. DynaPower produces industrial metal cleaning systems that eliminate the need for toxic chemicals traditionally used by the wire manufacturing industry to clean their products. The systems have been sold to clients in North and South America, Europe and Asia. DynaMotive also reported the elimination of a number of non-core staff positions, which the company attributed to the divestiture of DynaPower as well as efforts to streamline administrative and financial operations. The staff cuts have not affected its Bio-Oil operations, however. More information is available from DynaMotive, 604/267-6000, FAX 604/267-6005, Web site www.DynaMotive.com.
Georgia Strait Crossing panel postpones start of public hearing
CALGARY, ALTA-The start of the public hearing for the Georgia Strait Crossing pipeline project has been postponed from its scheduled date of June 17, 2002. A new date will be announced by the Joint Review Panel for the project. The postponement was made necessary as a result of timing extensions sought by parties to the proceeding and the timing of the Joint Review Panel decision on whether certain environmental evidence will be required. The Joint Review Panel will be examining an application by Georgia Strait Crossing Pipeline to construct and operate the GSX Canada Pipeline. The proposed project, a joint undertaking by BC Hydro and Williams Gas Pipeline, is the Canadian portion of the Georgia Strait Crossing project which would transport natural gas from Sumas, Washington to Vancouver Island. More information is available from Ross Hicks at the NEB, 403/299-3930, or on the Web sites of the NEB and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, www.neb-one.gc.ca, www.ceaa.gc.ca.
Cleanup begins at former Ipco plant contaminated site
SASKATOON, SASK-A cleanup valued at nearly $1.1 million got under way last week at the former Interprovincial Co-operative (Ipco) property, one of Saskatchewan's most contaminated sites. The building where herbicides were produced until the plant was shut down in the early 1970s is contaminated with asbestos and chemical compounds. The first step in the cleanup will be to erect and connect two temporary buildings. One will be used to enclose the abandoned plant while it is being demolished and the site cleaned up. The other building will cover an engineered, double-lined disposal pit in which the demolition waste will be buried and continuously monitored. The rural municipality (RM) of Corman Park, which now owns the site, will oversee the cleanup operation. The project cost is being shared by Ipco (which is contributing $400,000) and the provincial government (which is providing $696,000 from Saskatchewan's Centenary Fund). The work should be completed by this fall.
Manitoba renews protected status for Walter Cook reserve
WINNIPEG, MAN-The Manitoba government has renewed the designation of Walter Cook Uplands Caves Park Reserve, a unique series of caves and underground springs, as a protected area for a further five years. "This area adds to Manitoba's growing list of protected forests and wetlands to be developed in a environmentally sustainable manner," said Conservation Minister Oscar Lathlin. announced today. The 3,200-hectare park reserve, located 35 km north of Grand Rapids, was given an initial designation for six months last year. It contains many unique caves, sinkholes, disappearing streams, underground springs and lakes that can fill and drain in a matter of days. The area represents a small sample of the Grand Rapids Uplands Karst landscape and is unique in North America because of its northerly location and relatively intact Karst landscape formations. Karst landscapes are areas where limestone and dolomite bedrock close to the surface have been altered by the action of water, resulting in a variety of unique features.
Residents temporarily evacuated after pipeline explosion, fire
BRANDON, MAN-Approximately 100 residents of Brookdale, about 30 kilometres northeast of Brandon, Manitoba, were briefly evacuated from their homes as a safety precaution after an underground natural gas pipeline near Brookdale exploded and burned late on the evening of April 14. Response teams from the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization, the Office of the Fire Commissioner, Manitoba Conservation, the RCMP, TransCanada Pipelines (owner of the pipeline), the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and several local fire departments were subsequently on site last week assessing the damage to the pipeline and the immediate area. The cause of the explosion is being investigated by the company and regulatory authorities including the National Energy Board. There were no fatalities or injuries and the fire burned itself out after the pipeline was shut down. Following the incident, Manitoba Transportation and Government Services Minister Steve Ashton called on the federal government to review and strengthen existing policies and procedures related to pipeline safety. Ashton suggested that a review of the frequency and nature of inspections might be needed, as well as a more appropriate determination of the life cycle of gas pipelines.
Corporate, charitable partners launch program to reduce plastics waste, support food banks
OTTAWA, ONT-The national launch of the thINK-FOOD program took place last week in Ottawa, the latest community to
participate. A joint partnership involving the Canadian Association of Food Banks, the Ontario Association of Food Banks, RadioShack Canada, Petro-Canada and participating communities, the thINK-FOOD program is designed to raise funds for the Food Bank while reducing plastic waste at the same time. Schools, offices, newsrooms and the public are encouraged to throw their used inkjet cartridges into a drop-box instead of the garbage. Donated cartridges are then picked up and sent to remanufacturing facilities, and the community Food Bank is remunerated for each cartridge. As a result, plastic waste is diverted from landfill and the local Food Bank can feed more people. For example, the remuneration from one used inkjet cartridge is enough to buy a carton of milk or a jar of peanut butter. RadioShack stores, which already have established battery collection programs in place, have been set up to accept used ink-jet cartridges across Canada. More information is available from Jon Hamilton at Petro-Canada, 905/804-5911, Sheila MacDonald at RadioShack Canada, 705/728-6242 or on the Internet at www.think-food.com.
Ontario Forest Accord Advisory Board presents final report to Minister
TORONTO, ONT-Following three years of intensive work, the Ontario Forest Accord Advisory Board presented its final report to Natural Resources Minister John Snobelen on April 12. The report describes accomplishments since its interim report was released in March 2001 and makes recommendations on the accord's 31 commitments. Of particular note is the agreement by the board members on a recommended 'room to grow' framework which outlines how increased wood supply could help provide both opportunities for new parks and protected areas and more wood to the forest industry to support jobs and growth. "The Ontario Forest Accord and the work of the board have once again demonstrated that the forest industry, the environmental community and the government can co-operate in making significant recommendations on the use of our forests," said Snobelen. "Together, we can protect both the province's natural heritage and the economic viability of the forest industry and our northern communities." Copies of the report, titled Room to Grow: Final Report of the Ontario Forest Accord Advisory Board on Implementation of the Accord, are available from the Ministry of Natural Resources at 705/755-2560. The report will also be available electronically at a future date at www.mnr.gov.on.ca/mnr/oll/ofaab.
Kruger to invest $5M on environmental improvements at North Shore sawmills
RAGUENEAU, QUE-Kruger has announced a $5-million investment in major environmental programs for two of its sawmills in Quebec's North Shore region. The voluntary initiatives, approved by the Quebec Environment Ministry in February, will be carried out at Kruger's Manic sawmill in Ragueneau and its Jacques Beaulieu facility in Longue-Rive. Activities will include construction of treatment facilities for leachate from wood residue elimination sites and the implementation of overall environmental management plans for the sawmill yards. The company says the programs it has developed are a first for the lumber manufacturing industry. Kruger also recently spent $3.5 million to build two residue boilers, one at the Manic operation and the other at its Parent sawmill, to make beneficial use of bark residue (biomass) as combustible fuel and thus reduce volumes sent for disposal. Since arriving in the North Shore region in 1996, Kruger has invested more than $100 million in its three sawmills. More information is available from Christine Dionne, biologist and communications co-ordinator at Kruger's Manic sawmill, 418/567-4114, ext 232, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, Web site: www.kruger.com.