City hopes new technology will reduce the amount of salt on roads

November 24, 2009

By Mark Brownlee

Rock salt. Photo: Chris Ferguson

The City of Ottawa is hoping new technology will help reduce the adverse effects of salt spreading on roads during the winter months.

The new technology, consisting of a black box with antennas that attaches to each snowplow, will tell city officials how much salt has been set down and which roads have been covered by transmitting data from each plow to a central system.

“Salting is our first defence against winter storms,” said Councillor Maria McRae, chair of the transportation committee in a statement issued Tuesday. “With this technology, we can better manage what we spread while maintaining safe roadways for motorists.”

City officials say the global positioning system (GPS) technology could reduce the amount of salt used on city roads by as much as 13,300 tonnes. That could save the city as much as $1 million each year.
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“Bill C-311 means nothing” Conservative MP says

November 24, 2009

Chantaie Allick

"Polar Ice Rim, Norway." Photo Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten. Used under creative commons license (limited rights reserved).

Opposition MPs, expert witnesses and even a member of the Conservative government all agree that Canada has no plan to combat climate change.

The standing committee on environment and sustainable development met Tuesday to discuss Bill C-311, a private members bill introduced by the NDP to combat climate change.

The bill is currently the only legislation moving through the House that addresses climate change and, according to an expert witness who spoke at the committee meeting, it falls far short compared to efforts in both the US and China, two important Canadian economic partners.

Dennis Tirpak of the Word Resources Institute told the committee that, “While far from comprehensive, I believe the bill sets in motion a process that would allow Canada to resume its place amongst countries that are leading the fight against global warming.”

The Government MPs focused their discussion on a continental solution as the best option for Canada, despite evidence from experts that it wouldn’t be possible given the complicated US legislation and legislative process.

Jeff Watson, the Conservative member for Essex, Ontario, bluntly stated that C-311 “ultimately means nothing,” because it does not propose legislation but simply sets targets.
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Canada’s uncertain climate future

November 24, 2009

By Chantaie Allick

"View from Polar Ice Rim - Svalbard, Norway." Photo Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten. Used under Creative Commons license.

As the United Nations climate talks approach, environmental activists are expressing concern about Canada’s lack of action on climate change.

“We certainly don’t think the government is doing anything near enough,” said Hannah McKinnon of Climate Action Network Canada. “It’s not adhering to its Kyoto protocol commitment and it’s the only country that actually signed the protocol that’s not doing that.”
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Museum of Nature launches water project

November 10, 2009

By Chantaie Allick

1The Canadian Museum of Nature opened the floodgates for water issue discussions in the country with a lecture series talk by Rob de Loë, a University of Waterloo professor and water expert. The new project includes a traveling exhibit, entitled Canada’s Waterscapes, a new permanent gallery, called the Water Gallery, and a lecture series.

The traveling exhibit features interactive models and tanks filled with live frogs, fish and other aquatic species. Small fish stare wide-eyed at viewers from a riverbed of sand and debris in a display dedicated to the Rideau River.

“The water project aims to engage a sense of wonder in people—have people experience the beautiful, the unusual, the complex, the large, the small and the everyday,” said Carol Campbell, a senior project manager at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

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Pictures: Canada’s Waterscapes launch at Canadian Museum of Nature

November 10, 2009

Pictures by Chantaie Allick

1

Canada’s Waterscapes launched Monday at the Canadian Museum of Nature. To go along with the exhibit, the Museum launched the lecture series “Voices: A Canadian Perspective on Water” last night. Rob de Loë, the university chair in water policy and governance at the University of Waterloo, was the inaugural speaker.

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