Cambium Supports Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic

Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic Raising funds for Easter Seals – It’s all about having fun and raising funds to help kids go to camp.

Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic in Support of Easter Seals
Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic in Support of Easter Seals

Cambium’s Durham office was proud to sponsor a team in the 2017 Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic held at Iroquois Sports Park earlier this month.   The event raised an incredible $330,000 for Easter Seals kids.  The Cambium Team raised over $5,000 and got to play hockey for the day with Maple Leaf legend Dan Daoust.  They also go to play against Eric Lindros linemate on the Legion of Doom – John LeClair as well as Leaf icon Nik Antropov.

Cambium Aboriginal General Manager with Aiden – It’s all about sending these kids to camp!
Cambium Aboriginal General Manager with Aiden – It’s all about sending these kids to camp!
Cambium's Evan Black Signing One day contract for Leaf Legend Dan Daoust
Cambium’s Evan Black signing the one day contract for Leaf Legend Dan Daoust!

 

The level of hockey we played at solidified our belief that we were meant to protect the Earth rather than skate on it.  It was a great cause and next year our team will be looking to double our fundraising efforts.  Thanks to all of those that supported us.

Cambium Team Draft Pick Dan Daoust
The 5 Members of the Cambium Team calling their 14th round draft pick, Dan Daoust.

 

Congrats to Evan Black of Cambium and Michael Jacobs, General Manager of Cambium Aboriginal for organizing our hockey team.

Cambium’s Evan Black and Cambium Aboriginal General Manager Mike Jacobs ready to go!
Cambium’s Evan Black and Cambium Aboriginal General Manager Mike Jacobs ready to go!

How Your Site Investigation Costs Can Save You Money: a Tax Lesson.

A site investigation is a necessary part of expanding facilities, buying new commercial property or constructing a new building altogether. Their purpose is to ensure  a potential building site is safe for all potential users/occupants and that any and all environmental concerns are mitigated.  Cambium has decades of experience performing environmental site assessments, records of site conditions, ground water assessments, soil testing etc.  Our team has worked with a number of developers, planners, businesses and individuals to support the development of projects.

The cost for site investigations can feel like an added expense to on top of costly build project, regardless of the importance and  necessity.  However, you might be interested to know that there are some interesting tax implications that allow you to write off these costs.

For those of you familiar with Canada’s tax system, see the below paragraph. For those that wish to know a little more to understand the benefits – read on! If you run a business or represent a business’s interest, you are well aware of the ever-looming cost that is income tax. Most Canadian businesses are taxed at a flat rate on their taxable net income. Taxable net income in its simplest form is essentially just business revenues less expenses that are allowed to be deducted by the Income Tax Act (ITA). The lower your net income is, the lower your tax liability will be. However, any expenses that are capital in nature (i.e. have a long-term useful life, usually defined as more than a year) are not allowed to be deducted and must use a prescribed amortization rate provided by Canada Revenue Agency known as the Capital Cost Allowance (CCA). This means that instead of being able to reduce net-income for tax purposes in a given year all at once from a capital expenditure, a business must amortize the cost over its useful life. Due to the time-value of money, a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future – so expensing costs now is better than doing so in the future.

Normally site investigation fees would be considered capital in nature and not deductible for income tax purposes.  However, an exception to this general rule is provided for any expenses incurred for site investigations. Expenses include: subsurface investigations, surveying, investigating permits, performing site assessments etc. The Tax Act essentially allows any fee related to investigating the usefulness or viability of a property as tax deductible – even if the taxpayer does not end up acquiring the property! What does this mean for you?  You can expense the entire cost of Cambium’s services for any site investigation – saving quite a bit in tax costs!

Municipal GHG Challenge Fund Opening Doors to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A new Municipal GHG Challenge Fund is a federally-funded and provincially administered program designed to help the province meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. This is an exciting opportunity for municipalities to receive substantial funding. The way it works is simple: municipalities can apply for funding through the GHG Municipal Challenge Fund website found here if they have a project of any size that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Any Ontario municipality may qualify – so long as the proposed project has a measurable reduction in GHG emissions for the province.

There is about $100 million slated for this year and it will likely repeat yearly. Financing is available for up to 100% of costs, but priority is given for projects that provide up to 50% of funding. Financing is available for capital/construction costs of implementing the project – but not for planning or document procurement. Municipalities must apply by November 14 this year, and will know if their project has been funded by February 2018. Projects that reduce GHG emissions that are currently underway can still apply for funding, subject to some restrictions.

Municipalities that wish to apply must have three things (unless they are a very-small municipality or a northern municipality where there is more flexibility):

  • Community-wide Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory;
  • Community-wide GHG emissions reduction target;
  • And Community-wide strategy/plan to reduce GHG emissions.

These things must be provided along with the application and calculations detailing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions the project will reduce. Details about all of these things can be found at the previously mentioned website.

A recent update on the government funding site notes that many municipalities are interested in the funding but do not have these items completed. As the interest in the fund is quite high…

“the eligibility requirements for the first round of funding will be opened to allow all municipalities to apply, so long as applicants demonstrate a commitment to completing their community-wide GHG inventory, targets and plan within 18 months, through a council resolution. If approved for funding, the council resolution must occur before the transfer payment agreement is completed.”

All applications will be scored according to the program criteria, and if theses items are not included in the submission, it will impact the applicants score in the “Alignment with Municipal GHG Planning” section.

Funding has very few limitations – any size and scale is allowed. Some examples provided during a webinar included replacing vehicle fleets with lower emissions equivalents, replacing recreation center heating systems with biofuel boilers, implementing a bike-sharing program, building solar farms to replacing other power generation facilities or upgrading a facility to improve its efficiency. There are very few restrictions beyond lowering the net emissions produced by a given municipality.

Applications are due November 14th; if your municipality has a project in mind, but need assistance calculating GHG reductions, making a community GHG inventory or other planning elements around submitting your proposal give us a call. Cambium’s engineers and technicians can help create these documents. Check our Environmental Compliance Approval Services page for a listing of the services.

Using Landfill Sites to Save Pollinators

Image Credit to the OWMA

The world is experiencing a decline in pollinator species that is very troubling. Pollinators like bees, hummingbirds and butterflies are essential to both the natural and agricultural environments. Without pollinator species we would experience severe food shortages due to very poor crop yields.

Some aspects of pollinator decline remain a mystery, for example; honeybees in North America are being wiped out faster than can be explained by habitat loss or other human factors. However, human activity is largely the cause of other pollinator decline. As such it is very important that we work towards providing pollinators with habitats and ensure their protection.

The Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA) created this excellent infographic on taking advantage of landfills (historically closed, recently closed or even still active) to provide pollinator habitats – making excellent use of otherwise difficult to use land.

If you are operating a landfill site, Cambium can help. Cambium works all across the province on landfills: from environmental monitoring to closing procedures, we have a diverse array of experience in ensuring the safety, efficiency and best use of landfills. Our biology team is well versed in pollinator species and can help you do your part in saving them by assisting in the implementation of ideas presented by the OWMA.

What is a Circular Economy?

http://bioplasticfeedstockalliance.org/bioplastics/

As the world population continues to grow, the world’s creation of waste (especially plastics) follows suit. As is common knowledge, plastics don’t decompose very quickly; some may even take tens of thousands of years. This poses a problem in terms of sheer volume: there is simply too much plastic and other waste products to deal with. Unfortunately, most plastics don’t make it to landfills or recycling plants and end up in the ocean or natural environment instead. In the Pacific, there are islands of floating plastics so large they can be clearly seen from space.

Landfills are overflowing and the ocean is being severely affected. Many proposed solutions revolve around reducing consumption in general – which is absolutely a necessity, but it is something that is difficult to incentivize and even more difficult to legislate.  Lowering consumption is something that will likely happen overtime, but it probably isn’t going to happen fast enough to mitigate environmental damage in the meantime. So how do we manage all of this waste? One school of thought is to focus on the economic viability of reusing material. Rather than synthesizing new plastics or extracting new metals, manufacturers use recycled materials as their primary inputs. The idea is to lower waste overtime due to a widespread systematic recycling of materials that goes far beyond a given city’s recycling program. This is called a “Circular Economy” due to the circular flow of materials. The intent is to create a strong incentive to make change happen faster by making reuse economically attractive.

The concept of Economies of Scale refers to the lower costs of manufacturing the larger the scale of the operation. This same principle drives Circular Economics – that if reuse and re-fabrication happen on a wide enough scale, it becomes very economical. It makes intuitive sense that turning valueless garbage back into saleable products could be cheaper than extracting raw materials; the problem is that there is a lack of infrastructure to make the reuse economical. This is changing rapidly and many companies are taking advantage of the inexpensive material that comes from making use of waste.

If you or your business are interested in taking advantage of circular economics, or are looking to learn more take a look at Ontario Waste Management Association’s (OWMA) website or check out #circulareconomy on Twitter. If you are looking to improve your businesses waste management, recycling, or ensure compliance with Ontario’s regulations give us a call or check out our website here.

Soils Management – How it Affects your Project

Excess Soils Storage

Often unnoticed, overlooked and presumed innocuous soils are actually surprisingly important. Soils may have a substantial impact on your project; be it construction, remediation or improvement of existing property. As such it is important to understand the laws, regulations and nuances of managing excess soils or bringing soils to a site for use.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has a series of best practices for the management of excess soils generated by construction projects which can be found here. The MOECC suggests wherever possible to reuse soils excavated at the site – for instance as landscaping, berms, or for re-grading – to minimize the amount of waste. If not reused at the site of excavation or another commercial fill site, excess soils are considered waste products and are subject to Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) terms and conditions for disposal. This of course may be costly and logistically difficult if there are large volumes of soil to be disposed. Re-use or sale of excess soil is far more beneficial to your project, however the quality of the soil must be assessed prior to removal.

If your project is on the other side – in that it requires soils for re-grading, a commercial fill etc. – it is most likely worth seeking to use excess soils from a construction project’s excavation. This avoids the higher costs of purchasing soils from natural or virgin sources and transporting it potentially much longer distances and mitigating the associated environmental impacts.

Regardless of whether you intend to re-use, export or import soils for your project, the MOECC requires that the soils are analyzed and characterized by a Qualified Person – a professional geoscientist or professional engineer.  Cambium is an excess soils leader with many MOECC certified Qualified Persons that would be happy to assist you. See here for more information and please give us a call at 866-217-7900 if you have any questions.

Canada Day – the 150th Anniversary!

Photo Credit: Forester 401

What’s going on in Peterborough

Peterborough will be celebrating Canada’s 150th this weekend, and there are lots of things to do! If you’re in the city the Canada Day Parade will be happening on the 1st at 12:00 noon starting at Murray Street and moving down George Street to Morrow Park. The pre-parade ceremonies and entertainment begin at City hall around 9:00am and include a free pancake breakfast (thanks to the East City Lions Club)! In the evening starting at 8:00pm Peterborough’s Mucisfest is happy to present the three-time Juno award winner Kim Mitchell performing live at Del Crary park! Better yet, thanks to local sponsorship (including us here at Cambium) the concert is totally free!

Beyond Peterborough

This year being the big 150th anniversary, there is lots going on in the rest of the country as well. For example: with the free Discovery Pass, all Federal parks are free this summer, you can get your Discovery Pass here. Remember though provincial parks are separate. In Ontario, if you want to see the beautiful and historic Trent-Severn waterway, the locks are free to travel through this summer. This is particularly exciting for us here at Cambium as we have been working hard on several projects upgrading and repairing locks on the Trent-Severn – readying them for the extra traffic they will see this summer!

All of us here at Cambium are proud Canadians. We take great pride in our work maintaining Canada’s natural environment through our environmental work; ensuring the preservation of fragile ecosystems, the protection of threatened species and the safety of our water supply. We are also proud to contribute to Canada’s infrastructure and economy through our inspection and geotechnical services; ensuring the safety and quality of our countries’ built environment. Lastly we are proud of our contributions to Canadian society through our extensive charitable efforts – with a commitment to donating  1% of our yearly gross margins, regardless of whether we actually turned a profit or not.

Join us in celebrating our wonderful nation’s 150th, and reflect on how lucky we are to live in this beautiful country of ours!

Incoming Changes to the Aggregate & Mining Industries

On May 10th Bill 39 received Royal Assent and became law in the Province of Ontario, becoming: “the Aggregate Resources (ARA) and Mining Modernization Act”. The act was designed to increase growth and competition in the mining and aggregate industries while also ensuring environmental oversight, protections and accountability.

For aggregates this means that certain aggregate extraction activities will no longer require a permit or license, and it will become substantially easier to acquire and amend an existing permit or license. There will also be changes to various fee structures and licensing. For example, the Minister of Natural Resources & Forestry will have the ability to waive certain license and permit fees based on a variety of circumstances outlined in the Act. The Act also includes new means of enforcement, including larger daily and maximum fines, a system for reporting regulatory transgressions and new inspection abilities. The act also provides powers to the Minister to make new regulations requiring a licensee or permit holder to prepare various reports on records required by the act and / or direct them to prepare and submit various studies and reports related to the operation of a pit or quarry.

The Mining Act modernization component was more extensive than changes to the ARA; of particular significance was the creation of a new system that allows businesses and individuals to register mining claims through an online system. This system will provide detailed information and mapping, create an easier way to register claims and keep track of them, and ensure accuracy in the borders of claimed areas. This new system is designed to increase Ontario’s competitiveness and responsiveness in the mining industry while modernizing its administration. It is currently unclear as to when the new mining claim system will come into effect, The Ministry provides a Mining Act Awareness Program (MAAP) for anyone interested in the changes or becoming a Prospector, click here for more details.

If you are interested in the specifics of the Act, you can read an overview here. If you would like to see what the future may bring regarding mining and aggregates, the province has an outline of its intentions for mining modernization here – as well as more specific information regarding potential changes and how they will be implemented.

Sweet Tunes and Fast Dragons – what’s going on in Peterborough this summer?

Dragon Races

Grab some friends & paddles and gear up for Peterborough’s annual Dragon Boat Festival! Happening on Saturday June 10 at Del Crary Park, the dragons are back on the water to compete in this fast-paced race to support breast cancer research, screening and diagnosis (right here in Peterborough!). So far there are already 67 teams ready to compete; if you, your workplace or your friends are looking to join in on the fun check out the website here for more details. You will need a team of up to 20 to race, including a drummer and someone to steer. Come out and support a great cause! Cambium’s boat is ready to race: we’ll see you at the finish line!

Music & More

Perhaps you prefer a slower pace and taking it easy this summer? Well the Peterborough Mucisfest may be just the place for you! Cambium is a proud sponsor of this fantastic summer event, with live music at Del Crary Park every weekend starting in July. With tons of great artists on stage there is something for everyone – and it will be particularly exciting this year in honour of Canada’s 150th! Thanks to the many local sponsors (of whom we are proud to be a part of) all concerts are 100% free! So walk on down to the park and check out some fantastic Canadian artists at you leisure.

Peterborough and the Kawarthas are a vibrant place to be this summer with countless local events, farmer’s markets, outdoor activities, and more – there are sites to see and places to be! If you want to know what else there is to do this summer check out the Kawarthas’ website which has some of the best local must-see and must-try locations. Stay tuned to our blog for more updates on summer fun in Peterborough!

Aggregate Industry – Protection of Threatened Bank Swallow

Bank Swallow nesting ground
Photo Credit: Tianna Burke

Managing the protection of threatened Bank Swallows

Ontario’s Bank Swallows are small nesting birds that historically make their homes in the sides of eroding cliffs, banks and hills.  Included on the Ontario Species at Risk list, they are considered threatened for a number of reason, but primarily due to habitat loss.  Despite the loss of their natural nesting grounds, Bank Swallows have adapted fairly well to human activity and often make nesting colonies at aggregate sites, quarries and open-pit mines.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) recently published a Best Management Practices – (BMP) resource for use by the aggregate industry. This document is intended for “the Protection, Creation and Maintenance of Bank Swallow Habitat in Ontario” and provides a set of useful guidelines. These guidelines are not mandatory, but they provide useful tools and information that may help user to comply with federal and provincial legislation (such as the Endangered Species Act).

For example, Bank Swallows receive habitat protection under the Endangered Species Act, which makes it illegal to disturb their nesting sites during the breeding season without regulatory exemption. The BMP document by the MNRF details useful information that can help aggregate site operators to know how to avoid disturbing the nesting sites, what time of year they create their nests, and when it is safe to operate at previous nesting sites.

The MNRF also details methods to deter Bank Swallows from nesting in a given area to avoid having a logistical problem on the hands of aggregate site operators. Some suggestions include ensuring aggregate stockpiles have no vertical slopes, as vertical slopes can be inhabited as quickly as overnight during breeding season (and once they are, they are federally protected and cannot be disturbed).

The MNRF requires businesses to have experts assess potential nesting grounds and conduct Species at Risk (SAR) assessments should Bank Swallows appear at a site, or if a site operator needs regulatory approval for an activity.  Cambium’s biology team has a wide range of experience dealing with threatened and endangered species in Ontario – give us a call or send us an email to get assistance with your situation.