It is our 5th anniversary this June. Stay tuned for details about our celebration of 5 years in #ABHeartland.
Upcoming Information Evening Bruderheim May 7th
Come hear about current industrial projects, activities and plans within Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and surrounding region from businesses, municipalities and industry-related organizations like BA Energy, Canexus, Enbridge, Shell, Lamont County and many more.
- Where: Bruderheim Community Hall
- When: May 7 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. A light meal and refreshments will be provided.
- What: Presentations from 6:00 – 7:00 pm. Booths open at 5:00 pm. Company and organization representatives are available to answer your questions before and after the presentations.
- RSVP for refreshment and seating purposes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can’t Attend? Take our short survey to tell us what topics are important to you, and you’ll be entered to win one of two $100 VISA gift cards.
Renewed Focus on Region’s Roads
With current and planned industrial and municipal growth in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, there is increased movement of people and products within, to, and through the region.
The region’s transportation system is one of the most important topics to the local community. Residents, employees, emergency services, and commercial traffic all require a safe and reliable road network. The Heartland is also an important link connecting the Capital Region to Alberta’s north, and part of the heavy haul network for transporting construction modules to projects in the oilsands.
“Since 2011, two major transportation studies were completed resulting in several recommendations, including busing workers as a means of helping reduce traffic impacts during construction periods,” explains Neil Shelly, Executive Director of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA). “These studies, along with growth projections, were also used to create priorities for transportation infrastructure improvements.”
AIHA met with the Minister of Transportation and outlined the following infrastructure priorities:
- Improve the highway intersection at 15/37 & 825
- Improve Highway 15 to service the eastern part of the Heartland
- Provide new bridge access south of Fort Saskatchewan across the North Saskatchewan River
- Improve Highways 28A & 28.
AIHA’s municipal partners will continue working with the provincial government and engaging with local residents to ensure the road system will safely support future sustainable growth.
At a recent open house, options for improvements to the 15/37/825 intersection were presented. Concept 1 replaces the two existing intersections each with a roundabout. Concept 2 keeps both intersections signalized, and adds lanes for improved traffic flow. A final design concept and open house is anticipated later this spring.
Be Safe, Informed and Prepared
Emergency Preparedness Week is May 4th – 10th, and this year’s theme is Know the Risks.
In Alberta, 78 disasters occurred between 1987 and 2012, with damages over $5 billion. The 2013 southern Alberta floods, the province’s worst natural disaster in history, tops the previous 25 years’ disasters combined at an estimated $6 billion. The Canadian Disaster Database provides information on those disasters, which include wild fires, floods, storms and severe weather, drought, tornado, derailment with hazardous material release, extreme cold and even epidemic.
Close to home, there’s significant industry, pipelines, dangerous goods routes and rail systems. “We have different risks here than most communities, and emergencies involving chemicals have specific and special emergency management needs,” says Brenda Gheran, Executive Director with Northeast Region Community Awareness Emergency Response (NR CAER). For over 20 years, the local mutual aid emergency response organization has exemplified regional co-operation where it matters most – public safety.
NR CAER members are emergency response professionals from industry and pipeline companies, and eight municipalities. Response agencies from the provincial and federal levels also participate, including Alberta Health Services, RCMP and regulators. “If a large incident happens, our response will need to get big, and get big quick,” Gheran notes. “Having a mutual aid plan and working with our partners in advance of any emergency leads to a more effective response.”
Knowing the risks is just one part of the equation. “Everyone needs to make a plan, know appropriate safety measures to take, and have a kit to sustain them for up to 72 hours,” says Gheran. “Public safety is a shared responsibility, and we all have to do our part.”
NCIA members invest in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland
For more than three decades, the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) and its members have been making valuable contributions to Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.
In 2013, NCIA members collectively paid more than $83,591,000 in taxes to local municipalities. These funds help to ensure the smooth running of surrounding communities and provide crucial support for education, safety, health and wellbeing initiatives that greatly improved quality of life.
“We have been actively involved in the area for some time and are delighted to see the benefits of our collective efforts,” says NCIA Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Danielson. “Be it municipal tax contributions, purchase of goods and services, job creation or future infrastructure plans, our members are playing a key role in the Heartland’s success.”
Recognized as Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region, the Heartland is home to more than 40 chemical, petrochemical, oil and gas companies. This unique area is thriving and promises to deliver even more in the future.
Industrial investment in manufacturing plants and infrastructure in the region now exceeds $25 billion and in the next 10-15 years, an additional $18 to $24 billion in investment is expected.
“Industry is also an important source of employment, providing various direct and indirect opportunities,” says Danielson. “NCIA partners employ approximately 6,100 skilled workers in permanent and long-term contracts and our ongoing presence has resulted in the creation of an additional 24,000 indirect jobs in the area.”
In addition to jobs, NCIA members are also boosting the local economy with spending. Every year, members spend more than $1 billion on goods and services, a figure that increases significantly when you factor in utilities and feedstock expenditures for operations.
“Our member companies are industry leaders who understand what it means to be a part of this special community,” explains Danielson. “We don’t just work here, we are fortunate to live here too.”
The not-for-profit cooperative, representing industry operating in the City of Fort Saskatchewan and Strathcona, Sturgeon and Lamont Counties, has been working together with industrial organizations, neighbours, government representatives and industry stakeholders to support and advance sustainable growth and environmental stewardship in the region. NCIA is proud to be the voice of industry in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.
Air Monitoring Approach Changing
Fort Air Partnership has announced plans to change the way air quality will be monitored within Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and surrounding areas. FAP Executive Director Nadine Blaney said the changes will result in a better understanding of the impact of all emission sources on air quality, not just those that are regulated.
“Our move to a regional air monitoring network offers stakeholders more benefits and responds to community, government and industry needs,” said Blaney. She explained that regional air monitoring takes into consideration not only regulated industrial emissions, but also non-regulated industrial sources, as well as household, transportation, agricultural and natural sources.
“It’s important that the data we collect and provide is data people need now and in the future to make good air quality management decisions.” The new plan aligns with Alberta and Canada’s cumulative effects management programs.
In addition to regional air monitoring, the plan calls for more monitoring where people live and tracking the impact of emerging local issues like new oil and gas wells, and regional industrial and residential development. Over the next several years, FAP plans to add two continuous monitoring stations; relocate two others; increase sampling of Volatile Organic Compounds around oil and gas wells and other locations; eliminate monitoring that is redundant; and upgrade technologies.
A few changes have already been put in place, such as upgrading network data collection software but full implementation of the plan will depend on getting funding support from the provincial government and other sources, noted Blaney. Watch the video or go to fortair.org for more details.
A spinoff benefit of system upgrading is development of a live to website stream of raw data from FAP’s continuous monitoring stations. This allows anyone to check out air quality readings at any time. People can search by station, or by substance, and get hour-by-hour current or historic raw data in an easy-to-understand format. FAP hopes to have the new service launched soon.
Turnaround season is upon the Heartland
Spring marks the beginning of turnaround season in the Heartland. Regular maintenance is necessary on all sizes of industrial facilities and often cannot be performed while the plant is operational. Therefore, a turnaround is scheduled, in which production is suspended or decreased for a specific time period to perform maintenance activities.
Regular maintenance ensures the facilities are safe and efficient. This involves equipment inspections and, if necessary, repairs, replacements, and technology upgrades. The duration and magnitude of a turnaround varies with the size of each facility and extent of maintenance required. Some last only a few days while others may last a month or longer.
For local communities, turnaround season brings economic benefits through additional spending on goods and services, as well as the benefit of increased efficiency and environmental performance of nearby facilities.
Planning for a turnaround ensures the appropriate personnel, equipment, and processes are in place. It also involves community awareness, including utilizing the UPDATEline to keep the community informed about turnaround activities. If you are curious about anything you see, hear, or smell, call the UPDATEline at 1.866.653.9959 to access pre-recorded messages about industry activity 24 hours a day.
Several companies have turnarounds planned for 2014:
- Air Liquide
- Dow Chemical
- Keyera Corp.
- Agrium Fort Saskatchewan
- Sherritt International
- Sulzer Metco (Canada)
- Umicore Canada
- Agrium Redwater
There will also be construction activities at the North West Redwater Partnership site throughout 2014 and Williams will begin construction at its Heartland facility May to July.
The impact of the above turnarounds/construction projects on the local community differs with each type of facility, and may range from increased flaring, additional noise, and increased traffic to the site. In other cases, there will be no noticeable impact. Questions about turnaround activities should be directed to each particular company.