July 18, 2005

FCM, CH2M Hill present Sustainable Community Awards to 14 municipal projects

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and CH2M Hill Canada recently honoured 14 municipal projects as winners of the FCM-CH2M Hill Sustainable Community Awards. The awards, presented during FCM's 68th Annual Conference and Municipal Expo(tm) in St John's, Newfoundland, recognized leadership and innovation in advancing sustainable community development. The recipients were selected from a total of 57 submissions and included municipal sustainability initiatives in the categories of buildings, energy, water, solid waste, sustainable transportation, sustainable community planning and citizen engagement.

Projects and activities recognized in the 2005 awards included: applying new technologies to reduce energy and water consumption; developing a unique software tool for measuring energy and environmental performance in municipal operations; undertaking a community energy project to convert forest industry wood waste to energy; creating an integrated sustainable community plan addressing climate change; designing a solid waste management plan that increases diversion rates; and, developing a universal transit pass system. An outline of the winning initiatives, by category, follows.

Buildings

The Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD)'s Green Buildings Program promotes green building design by providing technical guides and a directory of more than 600 locally available products. Since its launch in 2001, more than 65 projects have been initiated improving energy performance and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Canmore, Alberta's new green Civic Centre uses an array of energy-saving techniques and is 40% more efficient, saving an estimated $14,000 in annual energy costs while cutting GHG emissions.

RiviËre-du-Loup, QuÈbec's local sports arena, called the Premier Tech Centre, uses advanced technologies to reduce energy and water consumption. The Center uses less than half of the total energy required for conventional sports arenas and reduces water use by 150,000 litres annually.

Energy

In Revelstoke, British Columbia, the city's community energy system was developed in collaboration with the local forest industry. By incinerating wood waste to produce energy, used to heat buildings in the downtown core, the system eliminates common air pollutants and reduces GHG emissions by 4,000 tonnes annually.

A unique in-house software tool developed by the Regional Municipality of York, Ontario, measures energy and environmental performance to support the effective management of the region's municipal operations. Annual savings in energy and operational costs are estimated at $70,000.

Sustainable Community Planning

Whistler 2020, a long-range sustainability plan for the resort municipality of Whistler, British Columbia was developed through a comprehensive community process using The Natural Step framework in preparing the plan.

Edmonton, Alberta's CO2RE Home$avers, an emission reduction strategy for Edmonton households, helps achieve energy efficiencies and cut GHG emissions on a city-wide basis.

In Nova Scotia, Halifax Regional Municipality's ClimateSMART, uses an integrated planning approach to address climate change. The program, the first of its kind at the municipal level provides models to determine potential climate change impacts and compiles GHG emission information and management options for initiatives, including a district energy plan and an anti-idling campaign.

Solid Waste

Hamilton, Ontario's Solid Waste Management Master Plan is projected to increase diversion rates 65% by 2008, thus extending the life of the city landfill. Features of the plan, such as improved leaf and yard waste management, recycling and organic waste management, have already increased the quantity of materials collected and diverted.

Ottawa Valley's Waste Recovery Centre, in Pembroke, Ontario expanded the Centre's existing landfill site to include facilities for hazardous waste, recycling, organics and construction and demolition waste. The collection rate for materials has risen to 66% between 2002 and 2004.

Sustainable Transportation

The Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority introduced its U-Pass, a universal pass to increase transit ridership among more than 60,000 students at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. With new bus routes and increased service, U-Pass helped make transit the leading mode of student travel and reduced automobile traffic by 10%, while cutting GHG emissions by 21,000 tonnes.

Water

The Halifax Regional Municipality's Water Commission introduced an integrated approach to control water loss in its water distribution systems. Using noise-mapping surveys and computerized monitoring, the Commission reduced water leakage by 23 million litres and saved $500,000 between 2002 and 2004.

Citizen Engagement

Winners in this category included the town of Craik and rural municipality of Craik, Saskatchewan, for construction of a sustainable Eco-Centre to support community activities and launch the development of an eco-village; and the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for its development of an area revitalization plan, based on sustainability principles, for Pleasant Hill, a local community which had lost jobs and affordable housing. The plan, implemented in 2003, involved the participation of 5,000 residents.

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