|Message from the Executive Director|
Hello everyone. The past two months have been busy ones for our association. A few highlights are provided below.
Members of our Executive team and our Regional Noise Management Plan Steering Committee went to Calgary in May to provide an update to the Energy Resources Conservation Board regarding the status of the project. As you may recall, the main focus of the project at this time is on completing the Regional Noise Model. We are about 64% through the overall project plan, broken down into the following phases and the status updates:
Phase I - Project Strategy Formulation and Committee Meetings (75% complete)
Phase II - Representative Computer Noise Modeling Development (95% complete)
Phase III - Detailed Computer Noise Modeling (85 % complete)
Phase IV - Data Interpretation and Report Preparation (0% complete)
Overall project is therefore about 64% complete.
As we have communicated in the past, we anticipate that the Regional Noise Model piece will be completed in the third quarter of this year. Good progress on the Regional Noise Management Plan continues to be made and we will keep you informed about this project as it moves forward.
I would like to share with you a few more comments from the two community advisory panel meetings that I attended in May to provide information on the Regional Noise Management Plan.
- "The presentation was very good. I think the benefit will be from building the model to be able to guide noise reduction."
- "Noise appears to be difficult to address; it's an interesting method to take action among industry operators."
- "The presentation was very good and to the point."
- "Describe the main noise concern and sources - where are we now with noise and where do we want to get to on a site and regional basis."
- "Indicate the geographic extent of the noise modeling on a map if possible - what is the "region" and where are the noise sources and impacts."
All of the input and feedback we have gathered from these community stakeholder groups will be used to inform the Regional Noise Management Plan going forward. I would like to thank all of the panels for allowing me to participate and for their interest and comments on the Regional Noise Management Plan.
As we communicated in the January 2010 issue, NCIA functions by way of volunteered expertise or sweat equity from our member organizations. In 2008 and 2009, for example, NCIA member companies contributed 8,200 hours of sweat equity each year to NCIA in order to resource the various internal and external committees that we participate on. This significant commitment of resources is what makes NCIA function well.
To recognize that commitment by our members, NCIA held its second annual member appreciation event (a luncheon this year) on June 10 that was well attended by member employees. The lunch was fabulous and everyone had a good time...thanks again to all of our members for their ongoing support of NCIA and its mission.
See you in August!
|Life in the Heartland Initiative Gaining Awareness with Residents|
A great turnout for the Fort Trade Show this past April, Life in the Heartland once again set up their booth and chatted with residents about topics that were top of mind to them.
In a survey that was completed by 177 residents, 51% of respondents had heard of Life in the Heartland, prior to visiting the booth at this year's trade show.
"This is fantastic feedback for the initiative," commented Laurie Danielson, 2010 Chair for Life in the Heartland, and Executive Director for the Northeast Capital Industrial Association. "For Life in the Heartland to be only into its second year and be recognized by over half of the survey respondents tells us that we're doing something right."
Top issues that were identified by survey respondents this year were transportation, land use planning and air.
Specific concerns around transportation included safety issues on Highways #15 and 37 and overall traffic planning, particularly where traffic is heavier due to proximity to industry companies. Life in the Heartland
is an initiative that improves access to information, contacts, and resources of interest to residents in and around Alberta's Industrial Heartland. Topics covered include industrial development, air, water, noise, light, transportation, emergency response, land use planning and resident relocation. This initiative is a dedication to a new approach to communications and is a partnership between Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association
, Alberta's Industrial Heartland Land Trust Society
, Fort Air Partnership
, Northeast Capital Industrial Association
and Northeast Region Community Awareness Emergency Response
|Bruderheim Air Monitoring Station Opens Up with Annual Fort Air Partnership AGM |
|On Monday May 10, residents of Bruderheim and the surrounding area got to take a peek inside their new Air Quality Monitoring Station during an open house hosted by Fort Air Partnership (FAP).
"Historically we've located most of our monitoring stations near emission sources for industrial compliance purposes, but that data doesn't give a representative indication of what air quality is like regionally. This station is exciting for us because it will provide valuable information for managing air quality in the region," said Nadine Blaney, Fort Air Partnership's Executive Director.
The brand new station, located in the open lot behind the Bruderheim post office, is the first station expressly placed to be part of the FAP regional air monitoring network. The primary purpose of the monitoring station is to understand ambient air quality where people live, and to understand the cumulative impacts of emissions sources.
Melanie Larson (center) points out the external collection devices which are a part of FAP's Bruderheim Air Quality Monitoring Station.
"The Airshed was in a perfect position to pull together the resources to make this station happen. FAP brought together the interests of the residents of Bruderheim, with the support from Alberta Environment and industry, to make a positive contribution to the community. This is an excellent example of how people's engagement in the Airshed can make a real difference," said Keith Purves, Chair of Fort Air Partnership.
The Bruderheim Station open house was part of Fort Air Partnership's annual general meeting, held at the Walker School. The meeting was attended by 42 people including the mayors of Bruderheim and Fort Saskatchewan. Participants heard that Fort Air Partnership is actively transitioning to a policy-making governance board with contracted staff to carry out the work of the Airshed. Points of technical interest were also raised including the increases seen in particulate matter during regional wildfires in May and September of 2009.
Learn more about the Fort Air Partnership
or call 1-800-718-0471.
|The Air We Breathe in the Heartland Region|
|In Alberta's Industrial Heartland, ambient air monitoring is conducted by the Fort Air Partnership (FAP) that covers a 4,500 square kilometre airshed that includes Fort Saskatchewan, Gibbons, Bon Accord, Bruderheim, Lamont, Redwater, Waskatenau, Thorhild and Elk Island National Park. Governed by a multi-stakeholder board comprised of government, industry and the public, FAP has been an objective source of quality air monitoring data since 2003.
"The quality of our air has a direct impact on our overall quality of life," commented Keith Purves, FAP Board Chair. "A comprehensive network of air quality monitoring stations is operated across the province by Alberta Environment, airsheds (air quality monitoring zones), Environment Canada, and industry. FAP is one part of a larger system that monitors the air that we breathe in the Heartland Region."
Presently, FAP's monitoring network consists of eight continuous monitoring stations and 57 passive monitoring sites. These monitoring sites produce data on a continuous basis, assisting governments, industry, local residents and other interested groups insight into the community's overall air quality. It also gives industry an opportunity to analyze the data and identify ways to improve the management of substances on site.
Alberta uses an air quality index (AQI) to provide the public with a meaningful measure of outdoor air quality. From the AQI, air quality is rated as Good, Fair, Poor or Very Poor. The AQI converts concentrations of five major air pollutants to a single numerical value and matching description. For example, a rating of 0-25 indicates Good air quality, 26-50 is Fair, 51-100 is Poor, and more than 100 is Very Poor.
The AQI is based on outdoor concentrations of carbon monoxide, fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide, ozone and sulphur dioxide. Based on the data collected by FAP, air quality in the Heartland region is Good over 99 percent of the time.
Real time air monitoring data can be viewed by anyone via Alberta Environment, and validated monthly data is submitted, and also available to the public, through the provincial Clean Air Strategic Alliance (CASA) Data Warehouse.
FAP's monitors capture information on air emissions from all sources, not only industry. Other emission sources are transportation vehicles, homes and businesses, and agricultural production. Click here to learn about the substances that FAP monitors.
To learn more about the air in the Heartland region, please visit the Fort Air Partnership.
|The ABCs of Preparing for a Hearing|
There is a lot of work that goes into preparing for an ERCB hearing for all parties involved - ERCB, the industry company (applicant) and interveners alike.
To begin, ERCB hearings occur when the ERCB receives an objection from a person who may be directly and adversely affected by a proposed project. Often, by the time an application reaches the stage where a public hearing is scheduled, the industry company and ERCB have already worked with the intervener to find an appropriate resolution to the issue at hand.
While any public member can attend an ERCB hearing, an intervener is someone other than the applicant who registers at an ERCB hearing for a proposed energy project in Alberta. An intervener may be opposed to or in support of a project or may wish to express concerns.
Examples of the topics that are usually discussed in hearings on applications include:
- the design and safety of the project;
- environmental matters;
- socio-economic and land matters;
- impact of the project on potentially affected Aboriginal interests;
- impact of the project on landowners and other potentially affected stakeholders;
- financial responsibility of the applicant;
- economic feasibility of the project; and
- any public interest that may be affected.
Industry companies going through an ERCB hearing process are required to provide interested parties with a copy of the application, including any supporting information, such as an environmental impact assessment or geological interpretations. This requirement is part of the ERCB's Rules of Practice, a road map that provides directions for anytype of proceeding before the ERCB.
ERCB hearings follow a formal process to ensure that everyone has a say:
- Opening Remarks: The panel chair explains the purpose of the hearing and introduces the members of the panel and all ERCB staff in the room. Then participants in the hearing register an appearance, coming forward and introducing themselves.
- Preliminary Matters: Procedural and legal matters are presented, such as adjournment requests or the scheduling of a specific witness at a particular time.
- Applicant (Application): The applicant presents its case and may question its own witnesses. Then interveners, ERCB staff, and the Board panel may cross-examine those witnesses. Once cross-examinations are complete, the applicant may question the witnesses again to clarify any issues that arose.
- Interveners: Interveners next present their cases in the same order they registered. After the intervener gives direct evidence, the lawyer for the applicant may cross-examine, followed by the other interveners who wish to cross-examine. ERCB staff and members of the panel may then cross-examine the intervener. Following cross-examination, the intervener is entitled to clarify any matters that arose.
- Rebuttal Evidence by Applicant: Once the above process is complete with all the interveners and their witnesses, the applicant may submit additional evidence to address new points raised by interveners' evidence.
- Final Argument or Summation: Each participant may provide an explanation of what he or she believes are the important aspects of the issues involved and what decisions they feel the panel should make. The applicant may respond to interveners' arguments.
- Closing of Hearing: The panel chair announces the hearing is completed and that the decision of the panel and the reasons for it will be given at a later date.
The ERCB currently releases 90 per cent of its decisions within 90 days of the close of a hearing. To learn more about the procedures required of an ERCB hearing, please visit http://www.ercb.ca/.
|Meet Randy Provencal, Shell|
|Most children growing up have a good idea what they want to be when they become an adult: a police officer... firefighter... doctor... nurse... actor... professional athlete.
From a relatively early age, Randy Provencal's aims were a little more grounded: he knew he was destined to be a newspaper reporter. And for more than a decade following his university studies he did just that, working for a number of Alberta publications as both a reporter and editor.
About 10 years ago, however, he made the move to corporate communications - and never looked back.
"It's funny," says the Communications Manager for Shell Scotford and chairman of NCIA's Public Affairs Committee. "Most journalists will, at one time or another, swear they'll never go into public relations. I know I did, and not long afterwards I had to eat those words."
Spending more than four years with Syncrude Canada Limited's corporate communications team, Randy joined Shell five years ago at the growing Scotford petro-chemical facility that includes a Refinery, Chemicals plant, Upgrader and 100,000-barrel-per-day Upgrader Expansion construction project.
"It's been a great experience for me, both personally and professionally," he explains. "I love that with my job no day is the same, and that the work I do is so varied. One moment I can be working on a communications plan for a client at Shell, the next I'm developing an advertising series or working on a community investment, such as Fort Saskatchewan's blue bag recycling program."
That variety can also be found with NCIA's Public Affairs Committee, which assists with issues management and drafting NCIA communications, as well as helping to plan special events such as the member appreciation luncheon.
"The work our committee does touches so many different areas that NCIA is involved with," says Randy. "It's imperative that we have our finger on the pulse of the community and understand the issues, so NCIA can respond to them appropriately."
A resident of Fort Saskatchewan for the past four years, Randy stays active coaching his two sons in various sports, but also counts golf, badminton and cycling as other interests.
"Fort Saskatchewan is such a vibrant community... there's so much for my kids to do, and that keeps me really busy, too."
The Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) is a not-for-profit cooperative representing industry located in Alberta's Industrial Heartland which include the municipalities of StrathconaCounty, SturgeonCounty, the City of Fort Saskatchewan and Lamont County. NCIA member companies range from large integrated global chemical and petro-chemical industries, to industrial service companies. Members directly employ approximately 4,500 people (not including contract employees) and spend approximately $700 million to purchase goods and services in the region, not including utilities and feedstock for their plants. Current industrial investment in manufacturing plants and infrastructure in the region already exceeds $25 billion, and an additional $20 to 40 billion in investment is expected in the next 10-15 years.
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