Green Economy

Increasingly, activities undertaken by CDEM'S green economy sector focus on sustainable economic development. The green economy that CDEM promotes favors the development of activities, products and services that ensure, first and foremost, a better quality of life in Manitoba's bilingual municipalities so that they continue to be great communities to live in and invest.

The following articles appeared in CDEM's special inserts. They provide a picture of how CDEM's activities are contributing to the developement of a green and sustainable economy in Manitoba's bilingual municipalities.

Renewable Heating

Since June 2011, the Providence College and Seminary campus in Otterburne has been equipped with a biomass heating system. “We’re trying to look after the environment by reducing our energy consumption,” says Bruce Duggan, director of the College’s Buller Centre for Business. “Among other things, we are using waste straw from local farms to produce energy.”

“It is also contributing to the local economy, since we buy these products directly from our farmers,” says Lesley Gaudry, the economic development officer for the Rural Municipality of De Salaberry.

The biomass project is part of the Province’s Community-led Emissions Reduction (CLER) program, in partnership with the Municipality and CDEM. “The Municipality joined the program from its very inception in 2009,” explains Lesley Gaudry. “The biomass project is our first green project with the CLER program. We have an action plan that envisions all sorts of other green projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our community.

 “Providence College’s biomass project was important to us. It set the wheels in motion for other projects,” she adds.

This new heating system enables Providence College to replace the current natural gas system and  thus “reduce greenhouse emissions by almost 200 tons a year,” says Bruce Duggan.

The total cost of the biomass project amounts to $500,000, $84,000 of which was funded through the Province’s CLER program. The balance comes from the federal government and Providence College.

“As a municipality, we have a responsibility to the well-being of our people. Supporting projects like this one shows that we can be active participants in the environment,” says Lesley Gaudry.

“We want to show that we can change things, and we hope to encourage people to take a different approach for the sake of the environment,” she concludes.

 A Green Energy

Since March 19th of this year, Ile des Chênes, in the Rural Municipality of Ritchot, has had a state-of-the-art geothermal heating system connected to its arena and fire hall, and it will soon be hooked up to its new community centre. (1)

“The arena needed an upgrade and we thought of using green technology,” says the economic development officer for the Rural Municipality of Ritchot, Roger Perron. “Then we approached the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) for funding from its Green Municipal Fund.”

“Ritchot is one of a number of bilingual municipalities that are members of the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program,” explains Dany Robidoux, CDEM’s coordinator for the knowledge-based economy. “We helped them complete Phase 1 of their project by collecting data on greenhouse gas emissions. We also helped them with their funding application to the FCM.” (2)

Certified LEED Silver, the Ile des Chênes geothermal project is a first step toward a greener community. The geothermal system uses the Earth’s thermal energy to operate and reuses the heat generated by each building to supply heat to the others. The system is also used to make ice for the arena.

“What’s more, this project is the only one of its kind in Canada, since the same heating system is connected to three different buildings,” says Roger Perron.

In all, the entire project, including building the new centre, upgrading the arena, and installing the geothermal system costs $6.5-million, $1.5-million of which are funded by the Rural Municipality of Ritchot.

(1) The community centre will be completed during the summer of 2011.

(2) To date, the PCP program includes 13 bilingual municipalities.

Composting: A Win-Win Solution!

At the end of 2010, the rural municipalities of Saint-Pierre-Jolys, Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, La?Broquerie and De Salaberry launched a composting program under the province’s Community Led Emissions Reduction (CLER) program. “After having collected data on their greenhouse gas emissions in 2008, and having consulted with their communities about what to do, the rural municipalities developed a concrete project,” says Dany Robidoux, CDEM’s knowledge-based economy coordinator. The four rural municipalities then got together to develop this project for composting municipal and agricultural waste.

At the municipal level, it requires that residents sort their waste into three categories: organic, household and recyclable. The waste is then collected by the municipalities as usual. “The difference is that the organic waste will be hauled away to a composting centre designed specifically for the purpose,” explains Dany Robidoux.

“Offering this service to all our residents enables us to limit household waste to non-compostables and thus reduce garbage collection costs,” says the chief administrative officer for Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Jean Gaultier. “And in the end, we can offer our residents quality compost for their gardens.”

Two composting centres are to be set up in the spring of 2012: one in Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes and the other in De Salaberry. All four municipalities have been granted $280,000 in funding from the CLER program and Environment Canada to carry out the project. “The money will be used mainly to purchase a windrow turner,” says Dany Robidoux. “It’s a machine that processes the organic waste to make compost.”

“The machine will be shared by two composting sites,” says Jean Gaultier. “It’s nice to see municipalities prepared to work together. It avoids duplication.”

As for the farmers, the windrow turners will go out to the fields of those who want it to compost their manure, which they will then be able to spread on their land.”

“Using compost offers a number of benefits for the land,’ says Gérard Dubé, an interim director of CompoStages Manitoba Services Co-op, which was created to administer the service to farmers. “First, it improves the permeability of the soil, and in the end, it reduces the damage floods can cause.

“Next, it makes it possible to reduce pesticide use, as it cuts down on the emergence of weeds,” he adds. “And finally, using compost has an economic impact since it makes the soil more fertile and improves crops.”

“Using compost makes it possible for us to reduce the amount of manure to be spread by 60%,” says Guillaume Nayet, an interim director of CompoStages Manitoba Services Co-op, a farmer and a co-owner of CW Dairy Farm. “As for me, it will save me a few thousand dollars a year, even with the composting service fees. It will also save time because you need to spread less. What’s more, the composting process greatly reduces the stench that emanates from the manure,” he adds.

CompoStages Manitoba Services Co-op will begin offering its services to farmers in the fall of 2011. “We expect to have the windrow turner by the end of September,” says Gérard Dubé. “We’ll be starting with only a few farms, and then we’ll extend the service to all farmers in the area.”

Composting: So Simple and So Good for You

The Village of St.Pierre-Jolys has garnered a reputation for being a leader in the field of composting in Manitoba. Indeed it was by associating with CDEM, Compo-Stages Manitoba Services Co-op and the Municipality of De Salaberry that the residents of the Village of St.Pierre-Jolys now enjoy the full benefits of composting.

“Not only is the composting initiative good for the environment, it’s good for the economy,” says St.Pierre-Jolys municipal councillor Mona Fallis. “The cost of hauling garbage to the landfill is high and the municipal council can now support other village initiatives with the money it saves.”

Residential access to composting is the second phase of the project launched in 2011. Thanks to the co-operation of CDEM, Compo-Stages Manitoba Services Co-op was able to acquire a windrow turner, a machine that grinds down organic waste to make compost, and have this service to offer to farmers. The Village of St.Pierre-Jolys now offers these same services to its residents.

“The equipment allows us to use more materials to make compost, such as meat and paper that will no longer be going to the landfill,” explains Mona Fallis.

St.Pierre-Jolys residents can get their organic waste processed in two different ways.

“They can bring it to a designated site in the municipal yards and an employee takes them to the compost site,” says Mona Fallis. “St.Pierre-Jolys also picks up organic waste from each household the first and third Wednesdays of the month during the winter, and each week during the summer because there is more yard waste such as tree branches and lawn clippings.”

But to maximize the outcome, the Village needs to make residents aware of the importance of composting and how to do it properly.

“The clients are the residents of the Village, so they have to be given a bit of training,” adds Mona Fallis. “For instance, we sorted the waste after a fowl dinner and found that 83% of it was compostable, while half of the remainder was recyclable. It was a good indication of what can be thrown out and what can be reused.”

Members of the communities of St.Pierre-Jolys and De Salaberry have relied heavily on CDEM to work with them on the composting project. This just goes to show how important CDEM is in the economic, environmental and social development of a number of communities in Manitoba.

“CDEM is always right there when we approach them with projects. They have the connections we don’t necessarily have as a village going it alone. With the Association of Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities, they can see if other bilingual municipalities have the same needs and thus create partnerships. We grow better when we work together,” explains Mona Fallis.

“CDEM’s great strength is to be able to gather key players behind a project to help find funding,” concludes St.Pierre-Jolys mayor, Denis Fillion. “Their assistance is priceless.”

Other green projects supported by CDEM

  • Solid waste compactor in St.Laurent
  • Sidewalks in Ste.Geneviève and Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes
  • Thermal improvements to municipal buildings in the RMs of St.Pierre, Landmark, Lorette and St.Malo
  • Residential composting in the RM of De Salaberry

CDEM has also undertaken to measure greenhouse gas emissions in a number of Manitoba biiingual municipalities.This has helped them develop sustainable action plans for their communities.