Category Archives: Healthy Communities

Sustainable Peterborough 2017 Award Winners!

In order to recognize the numerous sustainable achievements of its partners in 2017, Sustainable Peterborough was proud to host the 3rd annual Sustainable Peterborough Partnership Recognition Awards.

There were eleven winners, one in each of Sustainable Peterborough’s theme areas. Awards were presented during the Sustainable Peterborough Partnership Recognition Event and Awards on April 18, 2018 at The Great Hall, Peterborough County Agricultural Heritage Building, Lang Pioneer Village Museum. The winners were as follows:

Agriculture and Local Food

Locavorest
Locavorest is an innovative food enterprise that combines technology with local producers and a unique delivery method to connect consumers with local food. Their web-based ordering and network of pickup locations has created a new source of revenue for many of our region’s small-scale producers. In 2017 Locavorest grew their partnership to 27 local food producers, all within 75 kms of Peterborough, increased their online customer base and the number of convenient pickup points throughout Peterborough. Their online ordering and delivery method not only supports local food producers, but also serves as an example of how consumer demand can be met with a low carbon footprint means of distribution and fulfillment.

Climate Change

Endeavour Centre
The Endeavour Centre, in partnership with Ryerson University, created Zero House – a demonstration home that featured zero net energy use, zero carbon footprint, zero fossil fuel use, zero toxins and zero construction waste! While the demo was a single family home, the plan is adaptable to stackable row housing, offering zero impact construction on a larger scale. Zero House was toured by over 350 people in Peterborough, and the 35,000 attendees of the Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology in Toronto. Zero House was built with their Sustainable New Construction students, so there are now 10 experienced and qualified graduates returning to the work force ready to carry on this type of building.

Cultural Assets

New Canadians Centre
The New Canadians Centre supports and values a culturally diverse and welcoming community by empowering immigrants and refugees to become full and equal members of Canadian society. In 2017, the NCC worked with almost 50 sponsorship groups in 5 counties and assisted over 200 refugees to settle in Peterborough. They served over 1,200 clients, from nearly 120 countries, speaking over 65 languages. In partnership with SPARK, the NCC delivered the Newcomer Children’s Photography Project. They partnered with Art School of Peterborough and St James United Church on the “Be Alive in Peterborough” mural project. They were successful recipients of grants that allowed them to establish the Newcomer Kitchen and the Sewing Collective, pilot initiatives to empower newcomer women with ESL and entrepreneurial skills. On July 1st they held the 12th annual Multicultural Canada Day event, with a special focus on Canada 150.

Economic Development & Employment

Lansdowne Place
Lansdowne Place is one of the largest employers in the City of Peterborough and generates significant revenue into the community every year hosting enticing stores, events and activities that draw tourists into our community from across the province. They installed and promoted a level 2 and a level 3 Electric Vehicle Charging Station, helping EV customers charge while they shop. In 2017, in addition to implementing significant waste diversion, water savings and building energy efficiency initiatives, they partnered with local charities and non-profit organizations to host several charitable events that helped raise over $144,000 for the community.

Energy

Township of Selwyn
In 2017, Selwyn Township installed Real Ice in their Ennismore Arena. The Real Ice Technology allows them to make excellent quality ice with cold water, rather than hot. The REALice system has no moving parts, doesn’t consume any electrical energy, and does not require chemicals to treat the water to make good ice. Flooding with cold water has allowed them to move the set point on their ice plant up by 2 degrees F which is resulting in significant energy savings. Overall, the system is estimated to save 54,310 kWh, natural gas savings of 8,455 cubic meters, and $12,000 annually.

Healthy Communities

Age-friendly Peterborough Advisory Committee
By 2036, 35% of the Canadian population will be over the age of 55. This projected demographic shift indicates that it is a crucial time to ensure that we have appropriate services, programs, policies, and infrastructure in place to support our residents as they age. The Age-friendly Peterborough Advisory Committee launched their Community Action Plan in 2017. The Plan identifies a path forward to enhance programs, services, and infrastructure for older adults in the Peterborough region, including the City and County of Peterborough, Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations. The objective of the plan is to support healthy and active aging, promote intergenerational connections, foster an appreciation of the aging process, and enhance physical, social, and health-related infrastructure.

Land Use Planning

The Mount Community Centre
A property that possesses a broad range of heritage interests, natural, and cultural assets, The Mount Community Centre was born as a group of volunteers came together to repurpose an abandoned convent and to make a place to meet community needs in Peterborough. An excellent example of adaptive re-use, they have made exceptional contributions to heritage conservation, environmental sustainability, and cultural and natural heritage of the building and property. The building will contain an affordable living Housing Hub, an Arts and Culture Hub, a Food Hub, and a Health and Social Service Hub. The property retained several acres of previously farmed land, including an orchard, and in 2017 the land was cultivated with four types of gardens, including food gardens, a pollinator garden, and an accessible garden that accommodates wheelchairs.

Natural Assets

Peterborough Pollinators
Peterborough Pollinators offers a unique, creative and positive approach to citizen engagement on climate change, especially as it relates to the steep decline in pollinator populations. In 2017, Peterborough Pollinators registered over 180 pollinator gardens in the City of Peterborough, and built numerous pollinator gardens, including the Tallwood Pollinator Garden, and several in the Edmison Heights Habitat Area. They created and sold the Peterborough Pollinators fundraising calendar. They have also initiated the “Rewilding Our Gardens” pollinator-friendly seed project, with 400 seed packages produced and sold. They also created a new initiative called What a Grocery Store Looks Like Without Bees for the 2017 Purple Onion Festival. The idea behind the exhibit was to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators to our ecosystem survival and to our food security.

Transportation

Curve Lake First Nation
The issue of rural transportation has come to the forefront for many years, both locally and regionally. The Safe Travels program initiated by Curve Lake First Nation, in collaboration with Ontario Works, began as a pilot in 2017 as a way to help address what they identified as the largest barrier to education, training and employment for its residents – the lack of transportation. The Safe Travels program offers a low cost, safe, convenient, and environmentally friendly mode of public transportation to and from Curve Lake to Lakefield, Bridgenorth and in Peterborough at Trent University, Fleming College, Chemong Street, Downtown Peterborough, and Lansdowne Place. The program was deemed a success and will continue beyond 2017!

Waste

Whistle Stop Café
For the past nine years the Whistle Stop Café has searched for someone to take their used cooking oil with very little success, forcing the café to put it back into the plastic jugs it came in and take to the landfill. Last year they had a large storage tank installed by Sanimax with a pump that sucks up the old oil so it can be pumped out every month, recycled and repurposed into various products. Annually, this amounts to an astounding 9,252 liters of oil diverted from the landfill, along with the 600 large plastic jugs that were also going to the landfill but are now recycled!

Water

Siemens Canada Limited, Peterborough
In 2017 Siemens installed a closed loop system to re-circulate chilled water used to cool ovens and other production equipment. This system was previously open-ended and consumed a great deal of water. This initiative decreased their water consumption by 72%, while also lessening the pressure on local natural resources.

3rd annual Sustainable Peterborough Partnership Recognition Event & Awards

Sustainable Peterborough is pleased to invite you to attend the 3rd annual Sustainable Peterborough Partnership Recognition Event & Awards. We are delighted to host this year’s event at the Lang Pioneer Village Museum’s brand new Peterborough County Agricultural Heritage Building!

In order to recognize the numerous sustainable achievements that our partner organizations have accomplished in 2017, Sustainable Peterborough is proud to host the 3rd annual Sustainable Peterborough Partnership Recognition Awards. Winners will be announced at the event.

The event will feature a special keynote presentation by Cam Mather – “Steps for Personal Action on Climate Change…and a pretty cool and more independent lifestyle”. Cam and his wife Michelle live on a homestead near Tamworth, Ontario, 90 minutes east of Peterborough. They live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and business. He is the author of “The All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook” and “Little House Off the Grid; Our Family’s Journey to Self-Sufficiency”. The Mathers are close to their goal of making their home “zero-carbon” and they successfully ran a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for 5 years supplying 30 families with organic produce. Cam loves the challenge of providing others with the tools to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and to get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.

Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Time: 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: The Great Hall at the Peterborough County Agricultural Heritage Building, Lang Pioneer Village Museum, 104 Lang Rd, Keene, ON K0L 2G0

Please RSVP on our event registration page by Monday, April 16, 2018. Event admission is free. Light refreshments will be served.

Sustainable Peterborough 2016 Award Winners!

SP award winners group photoIn order to recognize the numerous sustainable achievements of our partners in 2016, Sustainable Peterborough was proud to host the 2nd annual Sustainable Peterborough Partnership Recognition Awards!

There were eleven winners, one in each of Sustainable Peterborough’s theme areas. Awards were presented during the Sustainable Peterborough Partnership Recognition Event and Awards on April 20, 2017 at Market Hall. The winners were as follows:

Agriculture and Local Food

Farms at Work
The work of Farms at Work includes protecting farmland, supporting the building and expansion of the local food value chain, and helping farmers in stewarding their land. In 2016 Farms at Work completed five pollinator plantings on farms. They also ran three hands-on, on-farm five-day field courses and hosted two workshops on seed production. Moreover, they developed and piloted a unique Farm Business Planning Program. Farms at Work coordinates the East Central Ontario Stewardship Collaborative who in 2016 completed nearly 100 on-farm projects and hosted a workshop on climate change impacts, source water protection and invasive plants.

Climate Change

Trent University
Trent University, through their new Energy Performance Contract, is in the construction phase of a large-scale energy retrofit project anticipated to save more than 2,500 tonnes of CO2 annually. In 2016 they set an ambitious energy savings target of 11 GWh and have commenced revamping the entire campus for energy efficiency. In 2016, Trent has installed 8 high-efficiency boilers, updated the campus sub-metering system to be linked with an energy dashboard for energy efficiency, and replaced 33,167 lights with LEDs, to an annual savings of over 3 million kWh.

Cultural Assets

The partnership of Lang Pioneer Village Museum, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation
Lang Pioneer Village Museum with their Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nation partners completed a video entitled “Aabnaabin: Looking Back to Where We Came From”. A retrospective of the settlement period in Peterborough County from the perspective of both a European Settler and a Michi Saagig person native to the area, the video represents Lang’s efforts to equitably show the settlement period from both cultures’ perspectives. With the help of Tom Cowie, Kim Muskratt and Caleb Musgrave from Hiawatha, Anne Taylor and Tracey Taylor from Curve Lake and others, the First Nation interpretation at Lang has been expanded as part of the regular programming and at special events. The video (produced by Impact Communications and featuring D.J. Fife and Mark Finnan), along with interpretive panels at the Museum, acknowledge the debt owed by the immigrants from the old world to the local First Nations people.

Economic Development & Employment

Kawartha Local
Rob Howard started Kawartha Local to make it easy for people to give guaranteed local gifts. A Small Box Store, their gift crates and boxes are packed with products from the Peterborough area. In 2016 Kawartha Local won the Bears’ Lair competition in the Goods and Services category. Their goal is not just to sell local products, but also to introduce local consumers to local producers, to partner with local producers to create new offerings, and to provide a way for artists and artisans to showcase their works. Not only are the boxes and their contents locally made, the boxes themselves are designed to be reused and repurposed. The gift crate even converts to a book shelf or side table!

Energy

The partnership of Mortlock Construction and Lett Architects
In 2016 the partnership of Mortlock Construction and Lett Architects completed the construction of Lakefield College School’s new Upland Residence. Designed by Lett Architects and built by Mortlock Construction, the LEED Gold Certified building meets stringent environmental and sustainability standards, and combines natural materials into the existing natural bedrock that encases the residence.

Healthy Communities

Seeds of Change
Seeds of Change is a community hub that offers spaces in which everyone, regardless of age, socio-economic status, faith, race, gender, sexuality, ability, etc, can connect with others. Every two months they hold a community meal where everyone is welcome. To support the local economy and reduce their carbon footprint, they source much of their food from local producers. Food waste is composted and cycled into their community gardens. In 2016, in partnership with the Peterborough Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind, they developed a Sensory Garden. The opportunities offered at Seeds of Change directly reduce social isolation, while simultaneously improving physical health, nutrition, and mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Land Use Planning

Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan
In 2016 the Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan established the Solar Policy in order to protect agricultural land and areas of environmental protection. They recognize that green energy is an element of climate change mitigation but also that local agricultural production is needed for food security. To balance these objectives, the Solar Policy prioritizes roof-top solar. Several large scale rooftop installations are found on agricultural buildings across the Township. Second priority is given to micro solar with a minimal footprint, followed by small scale ground mounts on marginal lands. Their Solar Policy is an example of how to effectively balance the pillars of sustainability by supporting green energy without compromising the long term sustainability of agricultural land.

Natural Assets

The partnership of Otonabee Conservation, Siemens Canada Ltd. (Peterborough) and City of Peterborough
In 2016, 40 native trees were planted at Kiwanis Park in Peterborough through a partnership between Siemens Canada Ltd. (Peterborough), Otonabee Conservation, the City of Peterborough, and Tree Canada. Kiwanis Park was forested approximately 25 years ago, using Ash Trees which are unfortunately now susceptible to the effects of the Emerald Ash Borer. The trees newly planted ensure that new trees are established as the existing Ash Trees decline and are removed, as it is critical that forest cover is maintained, to provide shade, enhance habitat and increase biodiversity.

Transportation

Fleming College Student Administrative Council
As a result of a student referendum, the Fleming College Student Administrative Council and Fleming College implemented a new transit fee within the student tuition fee. This resulted in a new student and staff carpooling program, a significant reduction of student and staff public transit prices, expanded transit service, cycling infrastructure, bike repair stations and the launching of Zagster, a commercial bike loan program. The Zagster program is a partnership with Fleming College and the City of Peterborough, resulting in the installation of bike loan stations at the Sutherland Campus and in downtown Peterborough. Students have access to these bikes at no extra charge, while staff and the general public can pay a fee to use them.

Waste

Belmont Lake Brewery
Located in Havelock, this locally owned small craft brewery opened in 2016. They produce virtually no waste, as their beer is sold in reusable medicine bottles and growlers and their only waste product, the mash grain, is given to a local farmer to feed his pigs.

Water

GreenUP
In October 2016, in partnership with The Wine Shoppe and Green Communities Canada, the GreenUP run Depave Paradise project transformed 35 m2 of asphalt at the corner of Park St. and Brock St. in Peterborough into a water friendly green space. With support from Peterborough Utilities Group, GreenUP launched the WaterWise program, which recognizes homeowners who reduce water use through their landscape choices. GreenUP is a member of the Peterborough Children’s Water Festival (PCWF), along with Peterborough Utilities Services, Otonabee Conservation, City of Peterborough, Trent University, Ontario Waterpower Association, Riverview Park and Zoo. In 2016, the PCWF, with funding from the Healthy Kids Community Challenge and Ontario Trillium Foundation, launched the Wonders of Water pilot program, extending ongoing water conservation programming beyond the festival, into classrooms and to a broader audience.

 

Old building, new approach as The Mount embraces sustainable growth

Andi van Koeverden is in her office in the oldest section of the former Mount St. Joseph convent, describing the work that has gone into creating the Mount Community Centre in a massive, 120-year old building that sat vacant for four years.

While the story is intriguing, I find it hard not to be distracted by the unusual stand that supports her computer screen.

It’s a used paint can. The screen’s circular base fits perfectly in the lid of the can and sits at just the right viewing height to reduce strain on her neck.

When I ask about it she laughs and says by way of explanation: “I don’t usually do interviews in this office.”

Maybe she should. The recycled can, paint drips and all, is an effective visual reminder of her observation that “sustainability has so many facets.”

That’s something she’s come to appreciate during her two years as strategic advancement director at the Mount project.

“At the end of the day this building is not in the landfill,” she says. “That is nothing short of a miracle.”

Portions of the rambling, 130,000-square-foot complex on Monaghan Rd. are protected under the Ontario Heritage Act so it would not likely have been torn down and replaced.

However, van Koeverden notes, it could have simply fallen apart over time.

When the developer that purchased the complex from the Sisters of St. Joseph in 2009 abandoned its condominium restoration plan, the Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network stepped in.

The non-profit group’s vision of affordable housing and a “food hub” eventually morphed into a grander plan run by a volunteer board, the Mount Community Centre. The complex is now on its way to becoming housing, offices for non-profit agencies, an arts and culture centre and a food centre with community gardens and a commercial-grade kitchen and food processing capability.

The first 43 apartments opened three weeks ago in the most modern wing, renamed Woodland Apartments. The wing had contained 130 tiny residence rooms, not much more than cubicles, that were used by Sisters of St. Joseph nuns.

Volunteer crews tore out 1.5 linear kilometres of cinderblock walls in the process, van Koeverden says, and all if it was repurposed as fill.

Volunteers also took apart, repainted and reassembled large wooden wardrobes that had been the Sisters’ closet space. They are now part of the new apartments.

“When the Sisters came through for their tours, three of then when I told them that story, their eyes filled with tears that we weren’t dumping their wardrobes in the dumpster.”

Along with the old and preserved there is new and high-tech.

A large room on the ground floor is dedicated to storage of e-bikes, complete with recharging stations. Three massive old boilers have been replaced with super-efficient Viessmann boilers that she describes as “literally, the size of a beer fridge” and which can heat half the entire building space.

Peterborough Utilities staff did an assessment of the original building and the renovation plan “and we are eligible for rebates and incentives right down to every bathroom fan in the apartment units, motors for the big air handler units on the roof, even installing low-flow toilets,” van Koeverden says.

“Even something like 50 bucks for every toilet is a huge incentive.”

She takes special pride in the food hub and plans for up to 100 garden plots in 5,000 square feet of space. Tenants will have first call but there will likely be many left for the general public.

“We envision training programs, people learning to grow fresh produce in their own garden plots and then on Tuesday and Thursday nights learn how to make soup, or can it … or what have you.”

The plan has echoes of the community garden plots the Sisters offered on the property 50 years ago.

“We are trying to carry on that legacy as well of service to society,” van Koeverden says, “so, trying to sustain that legacy.”

One more facet of sustainability, one that goes well beyond bricks and mortar.

This is one of a series of articles commissioned and paid for by Sustainable Peterborough and published in partnership with The Peterborough Examiner. By Jim Hendry, Peterborough Examiner, original article published Friday, October 28, 2016.

 

Rainwater reservoir helps Robinson Place stay green

Homes with a rain barrel connected to the downspout are fairly common today, saving up nature’s own water source for use watering gardens and washing cars.

But 20 years ago a rain barrel was a sign that whoever lived there was on the cutting edge of eco-awareness.

So to with Robinson Place, the massive but elegantly designed building at Water and Charlotte streets commonly referred to as “the MNR office.”

When it opened 20 years ago Robinson Place had a hidden resource down in the basement: a 35,000-litre rainwater tank, equivalent to a 24-by-12-foot swimming pool, eight feet deep.

Water from the tank is used to flush toilets. A seven-storey, 350,000-sq.-ft. building that provides office space to more than 1,000 provincial government employees has a lot of toilets.

David Burns didn’t know about the rainwater system when he signed on as building manager at Robinson Place. Nor was he aware of the large natural area, waterfall and vegetable garden tucked away on the Otonabee River side of the building.

Burns works for CBRE GCS Canada, a property management company hired by the province. Robinson Place is the largest of several buildings he is responsible for in Peterborough and area and his own office is there.

Designed as the provincial headquarters of the Ministry of Natural Resources (now Natural Resources and Forestry), it was originally used solely by MNR. Today it also has offices for six other ministries.

In eco terms, the building’s defining accomplishment is achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum status two years ago. Most LEED Platinum buildings were built with the exacting standard in mind. Robinson Place is one of just 12 in Canada to qualify in the “existing building operations and maintenance” category, and the first government building.

Technical upgrades that pushed the building into the platinum circle included magnetic bearings in the compressors of huge cold water “chillers” that drive the air conditioning system. Using a magnetic field instead of mechanical shafts reduced energy use, Burns explains.

Across the board, energy consumption has been reduced by 31% over the past decade, he says. Aggressive recycling promotion has steadily increased the rate of diverting waste from the city/county landfill site. In 2012 the diversion rate was 62%; for 2015 it was 77%.

Features like the vegetable garden also contribute to LEED success, Burns says. We walk from the bright, sunny lobby out to a rear stone courtyard. Off to the right is a gate, latched but not locked, in a tall fence covered with vegetation.

Inside the garden area, roughly the size of large backyard, we sit at one of several picnic benches. It’s a natural area without trimmed grass or landscaping. Seven raised vegetable planters, each six feet by four feet, are the most noticeable feature.

The planters overflow with tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, melons, lettuce, spinach, onions, beets and carrots. Burns and 10 to 20 others who work at Robinson Place and tend the gardens each summer deliver their harvest to the nearby Lighthouse Community Centre at St. John’s Anglican Church.

Another hidden resource that contributes to the “green” aspect of Robinson Place is a bicycle parking area in the underground garage.

“We have a very high percentage of staff that bicycle to work,” Burns says, “in the range of 80 to 100 bicyclists.” Several garage parking spaces were converted to bike racks and a bicycle repair station.

The vegetable garden sits on top of the parking garage entrance. We go back out the gate and stroll alongside the waterfall, which more closely resembles a gently descending set of rapids. The quiet burble of tumbling water makes for a soothing little oasis.

It’s a popular lunchtime retreat, one that Burns and many of the building’s workers appreciate.

“I have people come up here from Toronto, consultants, and they say, ‘Oh my God, I wish I worked here.’ And I say, ‘Sorry, you can’t, because I am.’”

Employers take note: good, green design can help attract, and keep, good people.

This is one of a series of articles commissioned and paid for by Sustainable Peterborough and published in partnership with The Peterborough Examiner. By Jim Hendry, Peterborough Examiner, original article published Saturday, July 30, 2016.