Crowd Celebrates Gibbons Air Monitoring Station Grand Opening
Local residents, dignitaries and Fort Air Partnership (FAP) members gathered in the sunshine June 16 to celebrate the opening of FAP’s newest continuous air monitoring station in Gibbons. A ribbon cutting and cake followed speeches by town and provincial elected officials, and an official opening address by FAP Chair Keith Purves.
“This station at Gibbons is a positive addition to our network. We look forward to having greater involvement with residents in this community,” said Purves. He explained that the Gibbons station is part of a national information network and that station data enables a current and forecast Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) to be calculated for Gibbons.
The Gibbons station is located just south of the Town of Gibbon’s administration building at 50 Avenue and 48 Street and was activated in February. The station monitors and collects data on seven substances (sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter) as well as weather information.
The public can view a near real time live date feed for any substance tracked by the Gibbons station, or any of FAP’s other continuous air monitoring stations, at fortair.org. In addition to Gibbons, the website also posts continuous AQHI readings for Lamont County, Fort Saskatchewan, Bruderheim and Elk Island National Park.
North West Redwater Partnership provided funds for the purchase of the Gibbons station and the first year of operation. The station’s on-going operation will be funded by the Northeast Capital Industrial Association, of which North West Redwater Partnership is a member. The Government of Alberta provided a particulate matter analyzer to enable AQHI calculations.
Fort Air Partnership is a non-profit organization that monitors the air local residents breathe in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. The collection and reporting on substances that affect air quality is transparent, guided by an expert scientific advisory group, and driven by national and provincial standards.
Fort McMurray Wildfire Reinforces Messages
Emergency Preparedness Week took place May 1 – 7 and was highlighted with community events in Lamont and Fort Saskatchewan. “Preparedness messages took on more urgency this year, with the Fort McMurray wild fire and evacuations happening at the same time,” says Brenda Gheran with NRCAER.
“Each year, we get out in our communities and provide information, resources and a few 72-hour preparedness kits to remind people that emergencies don’t wait for you to be ready, you have to be ready for them. Individuals and families should take the time now to know the risks, make a plan and get a kit.” More information can be found at www.getprepared.gc.ca
Sturgeon Refinery Recycles Almost All Construction Waste
North West Redwater Partnership’s Sturgeon Refinery environmental initiatives include reducing and reusing as much construction waste as possible. Several initiatives and contracts with waste management companies have led to many successes over the last year.
In construction, recyclable waste consists of wood, drywall, metal, cardboard, paper, organics and concrete. Hazardous waste is an unfortunate by-product of construction and consists of oils, rags, aerosols, filters, batteries, fluorescent lights and contaminated soil. In its first year of construction, the refinery produced more than 1300 metric tonnes of recyclable waste and 110 metric tonnes of hazardous waste.
Prior to September 2014, the month detailed tracking began, the recycled amount of construction waste totalled 39%. Today, 98% of all material is being recycled or reused. Geoff Braat, Manager of Construction Services at NWR credits a new program and waste management contractor for increasing the facility’s end use visibility and recycling success dramatically. He noted options to reduce the amount of materials deemed as hazardous waste, such as repurposing used oils or decontaminating soils, are continually being reviewed.
Recycled construction materials have a broad spectrum of uses including paper mill supply, wood-to-energy supply, compost use and energy supply, and repurposing for shingles, metal and rigid plastics. Learn more about NWR’s environmental programs.
Funds for Non-Profits in Heartland Communities
Every dollar counts when you’re a community group or non-profit organization. Often, those dollars are hard to come by, and annual budgets can be pretty tight.
Community grant programs funded by the companies in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland are a valuable source of funding for local non-profits. These grant programs offer the chance for local groups to apply for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. This can make a huge difference to the annual budget of a non-profit group.
“It’s important to Shell to be able to give back to the community,” commented Conal MacMillan, External Relations Advisor at Shell Scotford. “Certainly, in the past few years we’ve had this community grants program, we’ve heard great feedback about the positive impact our grants have had on the quality of life in the community. For many of these organizations, $2,000 or $3,000 goes a long way to achieving some of their long-held ambitions that they just didn’t have the funds to achieve.”
Recent Community Investment
Throughout the year, we see great examples of industry’s contributions to the community through grant programs, volunteering, and donations. Here are just a few recent examples:
- Shell Scotford recently announced the recipients of their $30,000 Scotford Community Grants program (including Pioneer House Club 50+, Salisbury Performing Arts Program, Bruderheim Agricultural Society, and others). Grants of up to $5,000 were available to non-profit organizations in Fort Saskatchewan, Bruderheim, Josephburg and other areas of Strathcona County. This year marked the third year of the program.
- Keyera partnered with Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society to help them achieve their Capital Campaign goal of $500,000. Keyera sponsored the Toy and Parent Resource Lending Library, which is open to all families in the community.
- Williams Energy Canada has become a Corporate Partner in Conservation with the Alberta Conservation Association. Williams’ donation will be used to further education regarding responsible use of fish and wildlife as well as conservation in Alberta.
- Agrium and Access Pipeline’s annual sponsorship of $2,500 supports yearly stocking of trout at the Gibbons Pond. The pond is a great family fishing destination.
- Dow Gives Community Investment Program recently wrapped up their application process for 2016 funding. The program supports one-time projects that have long-term, sustainable benefits for community members. Organizations can request funding for $1,500 – $5,000. Recipients will be announced in the near future.
Available Grant Programs
While the deadline for some grant programs has already passed for 2016, there are others that go year-round. Check out the Community Investment page on our website for links to available grant programs. If you know of a program that’s not currently listed on our site, let us know and we’ll be sure it add it.
Grade Four Students learn about Shelter in Place & Preparedness
Six Grade 4 classes in the region won Preparedness Pizza Parties in a recent NRCAER challenge to schools located within its response area. Classes viewed NRCAER’s Youtube video Mona Talks About Shelter in Place and teachers entered them via email. “Winning classes get pizza delivered, and our members join them for lunch to talk Shelter in Place and general emergency preparedness,” says Gheran.
Information is also sent home so students can help their parents and other family members prepare. “The students know a lot and have great questions. We’re all emergency responders in the sense that when an emergency happens, we have to respond. Being prepared and knowing what to do makes response more effective all around.”
NRCAER Tests Mutual Aid Emergency Response at Cenovus Exercise
NRCAER members put its mutual aid plan for the region to work in an exercise held at Cenovus in Lamont County on March 29th. Responders from Dow, Sherritt, Lamont County, Bruderheim, Strathcona County and Sturgeon County participated, as well as Alberta Health Services ambulance. Exercise objectives included testing mutual aid activation through 911, radio communications among responders while travelling to the site, and staging at an industrial facility.
According to Brenda Gheran, NRCAER’s Executive Director, objectives were met. “For 25 years, we’ve conducted training exercises like this to ensure our readiness, and to provide local municipal and industrial responders the opportunity to ask questions and gain knowledge before an incident occurs,” says Gheran. “With exercises, the goal is practice – not necessarily perfection – and being able to learn and improve.”