September 17, 2007

Gas tax funds support innovative BC landfill gas project, environmental infrastructure in NB

British Columbia's Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) will receive $1.08 million from the federal gas tax fund for a project to convert landfill gas to electricity. The project, to be carried out at the Sechelt municipal landfill, will involve the construction of gas extraction and collection infrastructure as well as instrumentation to monitor flow rates and processing efficiency. High-efficiency external combustion engines will be installed at the site to convert landfill gas to electricity which will be fed back into the BC Hydro grid as a source of revenue.

The SCRD will be the first local government in Canada to apply this innovative environmental technology at a landfill site. While the technology has been successfully employed in other parts of the world, external combustion engines have not been widely employed in landfill gas applications in North America. Anticipated benefits of this technology include reduced environmental impacts (the engines run virtually emissions free), improved operating efficiency, reduced need for expensive pre-treatment of landfill gas, and lower overall maintenance costs.

Preliminary estimates suggest that the amount of energy produced will be more than enough to power the district's Chapman Creek water treatment plant. A co-benefit of the project will be an immediate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The project is consistent with the SCRD's sustainable community policy, which establishes the local government's corporate and strategic position regarding sustainable governance. The project also supports the regional district's revised Solid Waste Management Plan.

Engineering and design work is expected to begin this fall, with construction starting as early as the summer of 2008.

Gas tax funding is available to local governments for environmentally sustainable projects that lead to the reduction of greenhouse gas, cleaner air or cleaner water. In BC, the gas tax agreement is administered by the Union of BC Municipalities.

At the other end of the country, more than $42 million in gas tax funding is being provided to support 20 projects designed to improve infrastructure in New Brunswick's unincorporated areas. The funds will come from the federal-provincial gas tax revenue transfer agreement as well as the provincial gas tax transfer top-up fund.

The funding will support infrastructure projects related to water, wastewater, community energy systems, solid waste management, public transit, capacity building, and active transportation, including roads and bridges where it can be demonstrated that they will contribute to environmental and community sustainability. The projects were selected on the basis of a needs assessment conducted by the province's Department of Local Government in consultation with other agencies to determine priority projects.

The federal gas tax fund will provide $116 million over five years to New Brunswick, with the province contributing $30 million in top-up funding for a total investment of $146 million between 2005 and 2010 in environmentally sustainable municipal infrastructure for New Brunswick communities.

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