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Delta Wins National Municipal Environment Award

May 28, 2014

The Corporation of Delta, B.C. has received national recognition for its Saving Our Industrial Lands (SOIL) Initiative from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators (CAMA). The City was presented with the 2014 CAMA Environment Award, in the 20,001 to 100,000 population category, during the association's national conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Ravenhill Group Inc. is the presenting sponsor for CAMA’s Awards of Excellence.

“CAMA is pleased to recognize the administrative excellence demonstrated by Delta with its Saving Our Industrial Lands initiative,” said Jean Savard, president of the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators and Director of Special Projects in the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer for Quebec, QC. “It is a worthy effort that others can learn from.”

For over a decade, the Corporation of Delta, B.C., has had a vision to transform a wasteland of derelict landfill sites, known as the River Road East corridor, into an economically vibrant industrial area.  The result was the “Saving Our Industrial Lands” (SOIL) initiative, with the ongoing goal to promote the closure of those sites, facilitate their re-development, and spur the economic revitalization of the surrounding area.

The SOIL initiative has brought together landowners, businesses, and government agencies to develop strategies to achieve that goal, including:  a vision for eco-industrial development; provision of economic incentives; streamlining of regulatory approval processes; collaboration with senior government agencies; and promotion of public-private partnerships.

The Delta Shake & Shingle landfill redevelopment is an excellent example of these tools at work.  After a major fire in 1999, the landowner declared bankruptcy.  This left the provincial government with a $4 million bill and the municipality with an “orphan” brownfield site.

In 2009, the construction of a major provincial highway provided an opportunity to achieve landfill closure. The $7 million project used innovative engineering to transform 70% of the landfill to productive industrial use.  In 2013, Ocean Trailer completed a multi-million dollar eco-industrial facility on the site, creating more than 150 jobs and spurring interest in further development in the area.

“The awards committee was impressed by all the submissions received this year,” said Glen Davies, Chair of CAMA’s Awards Committee, CAMA Representative for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nunavut, as well as City Manager for the City of Regina, SK.  “We had 47 entries, so picking just eight winners was a challenge.  Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all those who took the time and effort to write their submissions.”

CAMA’s Environment Award recognizes the commitment of a municipality to environmentally sustainable governance, to protecting the environment and to combating climate change.  Awards are granted to programs, projects or services that have made a significant and positive impact on the environment.   Because Canada has a unique mixture of small and large communities, awards are granted according to population – for municipalities under 20,000, for those between 20,001 and 100,000 and for those over 100,000.  Certificates of Merit may also be awarded.

Quote from Delta Mayor Lois E. Jackson:

“This brownfield site went from being a contaminated landfill that we could not sell for the life of us, to a new, eco-friendly facility with prime industrial land, bringing with it 150 jobs to the area. Since Ocean Trailer opened its doors in the Tilbury Industrial Park, demand for brownfield sites as part of Delta’s Saving Our Industrial Lands Initiative is rising; we want to encourage more of these win-win brownfield developments; which make use of existing industrial lands, literally transferring trash into treasure,” said Mayor Lois E. Jackson.

View the CAMA video award presentation: