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Canada’s Economic Action Plan

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With Canada’s Economic Action Plan (EAP), the Government of Canada aimed to counter the effects of the global recession and sustain Canada’s economic advantage now and for the future.

Under EAP, WD is delivering the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) and Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program in Western Canada.

These two initiatives support EAP by creating jobs, upgrading community infrastructure and stimulating local economies across the West.

As of November 10, 2010, over $187 million of CAF funding has been paid out to 314 approved projects across the west, with 47 projects fully completed. While at the same time, over $61 million in RInC funding has been disbursed to 718 approved projects in Western Canada. To date, 233 of these RInC projects have been fully completed.

As WD continues to deliver these two programs, communities and industries most affected by the downturn are already seeing results of this plan in action. Businesses have begun hiring again, with the economy adding nearly 430,000 jobs since July 2009. For more information, visit: http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/

Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) Success

“Hockeyville” gets reno for pro teams

Photograph of Vancouver Canucks playing against the New York Islanders in the Main Arena of the Terrace Sportsplex 

The Vancouver Canucks take on the New York Islanders at the renovated Main Arena of the Terrace Sportsplex for Kraft Hockeyville 2009.

When Kraft Foods chose Terrace, B.C. as Canada’s “Hockeyville” for 2009, the city knew it had a problem. The recognition that comes with starring in a CBC television reality program and hosting an NHL game was welcome, but something had to be done about the state of the city’s 35 year-old Main Arena, of the Terrace Sportsplex.

“We ripped off the Main Arena’s boards and took a look at the supports. All of them would have to be re-welded,” recalled Carmen Didier, the city’s Leisure Services Director.  In addition, the glass above the boards was short of the standard height of six feet.

The Kraft award came with $100,000, but the required renovations to the Main Arena would cost twice that much. Within a few months, however, the shortfall had been covered. Among the new funding sources was over $145,000 in RInC funding from WD.

The WD support also helped with upgrades to the adjacent Hidber Arena, which needed heated bleachers, acoustic panels and insulation to extend the facility’s life and usability.

By the time the Vancouver Canucks and New York Islanders arrived for the big game in the Main Arena on September 14, 2009, new boards and glass were in place and the entire complex had been given a fresh coat of paint. The event attracted a capacity crowd of 1,100, plus another 6,000 watching on a giant television screen in the nearby George Little Park. The Canucks won, 2-1.

Makeover improves William Lutsky YMCA’s reputation

Fitness clubs don’t usually feature locker rooms in their promotional literature. Given the importance of first impressions, it’s hard to exaggerate the importance of a clean and safe place to change and store one’s gear.

YMCAs are no exception. In fact, pleasant locker rooms play a key role in the organization’s welcoming reputation across North America, said Janet Tryhuba, General Manager of Relationship Development & Engagement for the YMCA in Edmonton. “We were reviewing our member surveys that had some negative feedback,” she recalled. An inspection showed a need for a complete makeover, including new drywall, floor and ceiling tiles, plumbing, and lights.

The cost of the over $350,000 renovation was split equally among WD , the province and the YMCA operational budget. The WD support came through RInC. Since the project’s completion earlier this year, membership has already grown by 300, and the new locker room should be able to accommodate another 700 members.

Creating sports opportunities

Photograph of the Rorketon Multiplex building 

The new Rorketon Multiplex in its final stages of completion.

These opportunities are thanks to a new $600,000 community centre taking shape in front of the curling rink that for 50 years has served the municipality’s 500 residents in and around Lawrence, an agricultural community some five hours drive northwest of Winnipeg.

As with many small towns in Canada, the rink has been a focal point for community life. But when construction on the new complex is complete – December 2010 is the target – residents will also be able to make use of a fitness facility, an outdoor skating rink, and a multi-purpose meeting hall. New office space will allow visiting doctors and accountants to examine patients and help with taxes respectively.

“This is something that’s been discussed for ten years now,” said building committee chair Walter Tymchuk. “Some of the existing facilities in this part of the country are getting kind of old.”

The project took hold in early 2009, with over $196,000 in funding from WD through the federal government’s RInC program. The province’s share is about $115,000. As well, a fundraising committee has organized a series of monthly raffles, and the regional municipality is providing interim financing until the balance is raised. By December, it looks as though residents will be able to enjoy sporting activities both indoors and out.

Pool making waves

Photograph of people standing beside the water in the Kenaston Pool 

L to R (holding the EAP sign): MLA Greg Brkich, Minister Yelich, and Kenaston Mayor Dan O’Handley, with local residents at the Kenaston Pool.

Tots to teens are enjoying the upgrades to the Kenaston swimming pool. The improvements have resulted in a cleaner, healthier and safer environment for users— youth participating in swimming lessons, swim instructors, lifeguards, as well as recreational swimmers.

The 20 year old facility was showing its age but upgrades completed in winter 2009 have significantly improved its exterior appearance and the interior atmosphere. The new chlorination system ensures swimmers a healthy environment that meets provincial regulations. With a new roof, the leaks and associated musty odour, particularly in the dressing rooms, were eliminated. Replacing the exterior doors improved the security of the building at night and during off-season.

Staff find the new chlorination system more user friendly. They’ve also noticed a big improvement to the lighting and a reduction in the humidity with the new metal roof. “It used to be like a greenhouse in here,” says Alex Jewell, pool manager. “The new chlorination system is so much easier to operate.”

Mayor Dan O’Handley stressed the pool plays an important economic role, “People from Hanley, Bladworth or Hawarden drive to town for swimming lessons and stop to buy groceries.” The incremental business generated by this recreational facility is essential to the vitality of Kenaston’s business community.

The Government of Canada invested over $6,500 to the upgrades of the pool through its Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program. The town and province contributed matching amounts, and the Kenaston Lions Club contributed $9,900 for the roofing supplies.

Community Adjustment Fund At Work

Fueling the future

Photograph of crane lifting a large piece of equipment 

Crews work to install the thermal reactor, which is the heart of the HD-Petroleum thermal cracking process.

The big fuel tankers driving around on the city streets are usually all we see of the petroleum industry, other than the routine fill-up at our favourite local pumps. Seldom do we consider where the fuel comes from and what happens to the waste it generates.

Each year, Manitobans consume over 400 million litres of diesel fuel and generate over 12 million litres of waste motor oils. This waste motor oil is one of the largest sources of the potentially environmentally harmful bi-products motorists produce. Motor oil can be a serious contamination threat to water, and the burning of waste motor oil is a very high source of emissions.

Todd Habicht saw that as an opportunity when his grandfather proposed a project to turn waste oil into an ultra clean diesel product. Since 2005, Habicht has been developing a method and a company to refine waste hydrocarbons – including used motor oil, but also other industrial lubricants – into a pure diesel fuel. This summer his company, HD-Petroleum, opened its facility in southern Manitoba and is ramping up to handle a significant portion of the province’s motor oil waste.

The housing for the complex, which will include the refinery itself and storage tanks, was built earlier this year with over $479,000 in funding from WD . The WD support came through the Economic Action Plan’s Community Adjustment Fund

“We are able to say that the capacity of the plant is much greater and we will be able to accommodate future growth in the market,” said Habicht. He added that he fully expects to increase his staffing by adding second and third shifts in the future. Habicht is pleased that his end product is “100 per cent diesel fuel. It has no additives at all.”

Part of the financing will help pay for start-up wages for the company’s initial six - eight employees. Letters of intent from suppliers indicate HD-Petroleum could see about 100,000 litres of waste oil coming in each month. That will make it the largest used-oil-to-diesel recycling operation in the province.

A new chapter for the Silver Sage Community Coral

Situated in the city of Brooks in southern Alberta, the Silver Sage Community Coral has served as an important agricultural complex for local community members and organizations since it was opened in 1997. Yet, there was still significant unfulfilled potential for the facility to play an even larger role in attracting greater numbers of visitors and events to the region, especially given its accessible location halfway between Calgary and Medicine Hat on Hwy. 1. The challenge was a limited amount of space at the existing facility.

With an investment of $238,000 through the Community Adjustment Fund, combined with funding from the County of Newell No. 4 and an in-kind contribution from the Eastern Irrigation District, the Silver Sage Community Coral has been able to add a multi-purpose building that can accommodate more year-round activities. From 4-H camps and horse and cattle shows to commercial trade and agricultural events, the venue has opened the door to more possibilities, with plans already underway to host a recreational and ATV show and social gatherings.

“Without that addition, they wouldn’t even think of coming here,” says the facility manager, Jonathan Drake. “The new building makes the entire facility more accessible to a wider range of groups.”

The new multi-purpose building, which opened this year after construction wrapped up in early March, provides a covered 80-by-100 foot winterized venue with improved lighting and extra space for agricultural shows and events.

Development of the project created short-term construction jobs, and the goal is to add both a full-time and part-time position over the next year. But the real economic impact is being felt through the hosting of additional events and the ability for existing events to continue growing. The expected increase in visitors to the region could help provide a welcome boost to local merchants, restaurants and hotels.

If the reaction of the local community is any indication of the venue’s coming success, the future is bright.

“Everyone who comes into the new building comments on what a great addition it has been,” adds Jonathan Drake. “It allows events to run much more smoothly and efficiently.”

Finding value in burned forest

Photograph of logs cut and stacked 

Workers process wood in a forest fire salvage program just outside of Pelican Narrows, Saskatchewan.

The fire that destroyed huge swaths of northern Saskatchewan forests two years ago was the last thing the region’s already struggling forestry sector needed. But a burned forest still has some value for those willing to do the work.

The Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) was willing. With $1.5 million in assistance from WD , the PBCN was able to put together a salvage operation that turned the burned trees into the raw material for fence posts, building logs and saw logs. The logs were cut and peeled onsite and then sent out to facilities for treating. In the process, the PBCN’s Mee-Toos Forest Products operation put 50 men to work for six months of the project with a second year of activity now underway.

“Those logs will only be good to use for a year or two after the burn,” said PBCN Chief Darrell McCallum, adding that the project also helps clean out the forest.

Residents of three communities are employed in the salvage: Sandy Bay, Pelican Narrows and Deschambault Lake, all of which have seen only sparse employment opportunities in recent years. “There’s a lot of (mineral) exploration, but nothing solid,” said McCallum. Hydro-electric development is also in the works, but in the meantime, forestry salvage is proving the most reliable source of work for many members of the PBCN.

McCallum said project organizers are considering harvesting other forestry material from the burn and processing them into wood pellets for pellet stoves.  The WD support came through the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF), one of two federal government programs delivered by the Department under Canada’s Economic Action Plan.

New EMS building a hot addition to the Village of Nakusp

After 80 years in service, the Village of Nakusp’s firehall is being replaced. Small, rundown and inefficient, the aging facility has earned its retirement. The new emergency services centre, funded by WD , could not come a minute too soon, according to a village representative.

“The new facility is needed because the old fire hall, approaching 80 years old, is dilapidated and not large enough to house the equipment that we now have,” said Bob Lafleur, on behalf of the Village’s Mayor, Karen Hamling.

“The Volunteer Fire Department, search and Rescue and BC Ambulance have been looking for new homes for years,” he said. He went on to explain that some of the equipment is currently stored in other locations, thus delaying response time. Housing all services in one building will increase efficiency and accessibility.

“The benefit to the community is obviously better service, better location, and better coordination of emergency incidents, including an incident command centre that the Fire Service and the Provincial Emergency Program can access, with a back-up generator,” Lafleur continued.

The new Emergency Response Centre will also be home to a regional training centre. Currently, all the training is completed elsewhere, costing the Village both money and resources. The Village will work with Selkirk College to provide training for 13 people under the first-ever local apprenticeship program.

The $1,345,000 WD investment, under the Western portion of the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF), will also create 10 new full-time jobs and will sustain another 6 - 10 jobs through the hiring of local contractors in the community. Without this investment, the Village would not have been able to complete the construction of the new building.

The new facility is expected to open by year’s end.