Friday, May 06, 2011
Recognizing that environmental sustainability is critical to long term success and growth, the City of Leduc has initiated a learning process to better understand its relationship to the environment. Gaining knowledge and tools that can be passed on to the citizens of Leduc will enable the entire city to work together to ensure a bright and vibrant future. As a first step, a research project was undertaken culminating in a report called the Environmental Backgrounder, which was presented to City Council on April 26. The report centered on an analysis of the City of Leduc’s existing information in seven areas: Waste Management, Water and Wastewater Stewardship, Energy Use, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Land Use, Air Quality, Noise Pollution and Light Efficiency.
Waste management is an important issue in all communities – unmanaged solid waste can create health issues by attracting bugs and pests, contaminate soil and water, and take up space. Responsible waste management not only helps avoid the aforementioned problems, but reduces environmental pollution including greenhouse gas emissions, landfill leachate, and community litter.
The City of Leduc’s existing waste management program collects landfill waste, recyclables, and seasonal yard waste. In 2009, Leduc residents generated over 9,000 tonnes of waste. Twenty percent of the waste was diverted from the landfill, leaving roughly 338 kg waste per person that went in the landfill site, 53 kg per person higher than the provincial average of 267.
In addition to the landfill site, the City of Leduc’s waste management plan includes a weekly pick up of blue bag recyclables, year-round recycling at the Leduc & District Regional Waste Management Facility for household and hazardous waste, and an annual one-day Toxic Round Up for unused medications or any other hazardous products, and e-waste.
A composting facility will be scheduled to collect yard waste and food scraps beginning in 2012.
Water and Wastewater
More and more we are becoming aware of the preciousness of water, it’s importance, and the growing stress on it as a natural resource with industrial expansion and urban growth. Being good water stewards, conscious of protecting our watersheds and ecosystems, is an individual responsibility.
The City of Leduc’s drinking water comes from the Capital Region Southwest – Water Services Commission (CRSWSC), sourced from the North Saskatchewan River. Leduc’s wastewater and sewage is managed by the Alberta Capital region Wastewater Commission and is treated in Edmonton.
The Environmental Backgrounder report states that the water Leduc uses is of very high quality.
The City of Leduc is dedicated to reducing water consumption, effectively managing stormwater runoff, and balancing the various demands for water amongst important human and natural processes. Stormwater, while most of it falls straight to the ground, there is a significant amount that runs off or along hard man-made surfaces before it reaches a water body. Along the way it will have picked up traces of any number of potentially harmful elements, such as oil, fertilizer, pet waste, detergents, solvents, and so on. Leduc is now incorporating stormwater management methods.
A steady, dependable and affordable source of energy is a municipal necessity. The City of Leduc is connected to Alberta’s electrical power generation, transmission and distribution system. The Report says, based on data provided by the City of Leduc, that the total utility cost for 2010 exceeded approximately 1.5 million. Though about $1 million of the total cost can be attributed to the energy demand of the Leduc Recreation Centre, the LRC has been developed for energy-efficiency and leaves a far smaller environmental impact than other facilities of its size and kind.
As advocates of using energy wisely, the City of Leduc has partnered with Climate Change Central and the Alberta Government to support community energy efficiency.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are the principle cause of climate change, and represents one of our greatest environmental challenges, says the Backgrounder report. (The estimated annual GHG emissions profile or the City of Leduc just under 82,000 tonnes.) The residential housing sector was a most significant source at 53%, with emissions from personal transportion in second place at 39%.
Based on recent census data, over 90% of Leduc’s working population commute to and from work in a personal automobile.
The provincial Government regulates the GHG emissions from large industrial facilities, which are defined as a facility that emits over 100,000 tonnes of GHG yearly. An appraisal of industrial activities in the City of Leduc were not big enough to qualify for the GHG identifier and were therefore not accounted for in the report.
Current Initiatives in Leduc include the C-Line Transit intermunicipal communter, an affordable alternative to the personal automobile, and the Light is Right program, a partnership between the Alberta government and Climate Change Central to cover up to 25% of the cost of upgrading a building to energy-efficient lighting.
Balancing land use wisely is critical to maximizing economic development, protecting watersheds and sensitive areas, and creating social networks. The City of Leduc contains over 3100 ha of land, 54% (or 1702 ha) designated as Agriculture/Urban Reserve. Much of this land is undeveloped and intended for future growth.
In 2008, the Capital Region Board (CRB) was established, consisting of twenty four participating municipalities around the City of Edmonton. The CRB’s purpose is to provide coordination in the Capital Region, including Leduc, to maintain the success and growth of the region as a whole.
The City of Leduc is presently reviewing and updating its Municipal Development Plan and working with Leduc County to develop an intermunicipal plan that will identify how City and County will be connected via trails, roadways, land use and other municipal systems.
Air quality in Alberta is monitored by more than 160 monitoring stations operated by Alberta Environment, Airshed Zones, Environment Canada and industrial facilities. Air quality monitoring information for the City of Leduc is not available, as the closest air monitoring station is located in Edmonton.
Noise and Light Pollution
Excessive noise and light pollution are coming to be recognized as disruptive to human and environmental health. Being near the Edmonton International Airport, major highways and trains regularly passing through, Leduc citizens are exposed to both forms of pollution. The City of Leduc has undertaken a number of noise impact studies in order to gain a clear understanding of the effects of noise and light on its community. Leduc is asking developers to incorporate light efficiency into site designs, and is currently developing a surface transportation noise policy to address responsibility in traffic noise.
The City of Leduc is working toward finding a harmonious balance between its future growth and progress and protecting the environment at the