2018 Brownie Award Winners

The 19th annual Brownie Awards were presentedat the Brownie Awards Gala, held November 21, 2018 at the Delta Toronto Hotel.

List of Winners

Category 1:  REPROGRAM – Legislation, policy and program initiatives

Excess Soils Bylaw Tool, Ont.

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In March 2016, the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) was retained by the provincial government to develop an online resource tool for Ontario municipalities to use in updating their local bylaws to align with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks' (MOECP) "Management of Excess Soil - A Guide for Best Management Practices" (BMPs). To understand the state of municipal fill and site alteration bylaws, CUI reviewed over 50 existing bylaws for best practices, how the BMPs had been incorporated (if at all), and the dates of revisions and issuance. The majority of bylaws reviewed had not been updated since the 2014 release of the BMPs. To determine the most pressing excess soil issues facing municipalities and how bylaws can help address these, CUI consulted with municipal, Provincial, professional and industry contacts as well as the members of the MOECP's Excess Soil Working Group. Based on CUI's research and engagement, 19 key issues were identified for the online bylaw tool to address through guidance, links to guidance documents and resources, and example bylaw language. In September 2016, CUI launched the Tool at www.excesssoils.com. Based on positive feedback on the necessity and usability of the tool, CUI hosted a well-attended webinar and symposium in 2017 and plans an additional symposium in December 2018.

Category 2:  REMEDIATE - Sustainable remediation and technological innovation

Cates Landing Development, District of North Vancouver, B.C.

See Project Details

The foreshore location at the northeast end of Burrard Inlet had hosted a shipyard and a barge builder on adjacent sites on either side of Roche Creek since the 1930s. The shipyards were derelict and underutilized by the early 2000s and decommissioned in 2015.

Contaminated fill and surface soils were present across the site, and sediments showed PAH and metals contamination. PGL Environmental Consultants Ltd. (PGL) was retained by the shipyard owners in 2010, to assess the site in the hopes of selling it to a developer. PGL worked with the site owners to develop a conceptual remediation plan and habitat restoration plan for the foreshore that could be used to market the property and show the regulators what would be possible for remediation. We saw opportunity to restore the foreshore and provide valuable habitat extent and complexity above capped and inert contaminated fill where removal was prohibitive, and to add habitat clusters in the intertidal zone, native near-tidal vegetation, and prospective surf smelt and shellfish habitat through the use of special gravels and imported shell hash.

Polygon Cates Landing Ltd. engaged PGL to do additional investigation and habitat design work on the sites in 2013. Based on this work, Polygon purchased the sites in 2015 for redevelopment into a residential neighbourhood with 100 units and foreshore habitat area. The site hosted protected archaeological resources, which were preserved in place during re-development. By judicious re-contouring and reconfiguration of the site, PGL created a natural amenity area in front of the development site, and provided habitat that Port of Vancouver could bank for use elsewhere in their jurisdiction. This derelict contaminated site in a prime waterfront location has now been upgraded into a vibrant residential and foreshore habitat community that was occupied in Phases in 2017 and 2018.

Category 3:  REINVEST - Financing, risk management and partnerships

The Bentway, Toronto, Ont.

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The Bentway is a new public space in Toronto that offers year-round artistic, cultural, and recreational activities and events. It is premised on the rediscovery of the public realm in the most unlikely of places (the underside of a downtown expressway), contributing new ways of thinking about the next generation of public space and its role in redressing the traditional park space deficit within our rapidly intensifying downtown cores. The project takes a low impact development approach to stormwater management, redirecting drains from the overpass to these plants and soil that absorb the pollutants and keep them out of the municipal stormwater system.

The Bentway sets a new precedent for philanthropy, public-private collaboration and stewardship for public space. A requisite for the project was the establishment of The Bentway Conservancy, an independent not-for-profit corporation that manages, operates and programs the space. It is a new model for public space stewardship in the City, Canada, and for future public space initiatives. Wil and Judy Matthews’ $25-million donation to spark the project demonstrated a new kind of philanthropy: to enhance public space; free of naming rights; with a public-private collaborative model; and with an engaged donor who played an active role in the realization of the project. Additional funding to make the project a reality came from the City of Toronto and the Government of Canada. The initial philanthropic donation has inspired other donors to support other public projects.

As reclaimed land and subsequent years accepting drainage from the overpass above led to soil and groundwater contamination with metals and inorganics, sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) in soil, electrical conductivity (EC) in soil, chloride in groundwater petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). To address the contamination, a due diligence risk assessment and risk management plan was prepared. Risk management measures are seamlessly integrated into the parkscape surfacing and appear as planted areas, concrete skateboard surfaces, and playground soft surfacing so that a continuous barrier to native soils is maintained throughout. Soil remediation was completed on several areas and extensive air modeling was completed to confirm the air quality beneath the Gardiner.

Category 4:  REBUILD - Redevelopment at the local, site scale

The Pier Development by Pinnacle International, Vancouver, B.C.

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The Burrard Drydocks/Versatile Shipyards began operating circa 1906 at the waterfront in North Vancouver, BC and quickly expanded to become the largest shipyard in BC. During its operation, the company expanded by infilling the foreshore with contaminated waste fill. In 1992, the shipyard became bankrupt. The property was heavily contaminated, in part because the company had infilled the foreshore with contaminated waste fill.

In 2001, Pinnacle International Ltd. obtained the development rights for the western half of the property. Their plan was to transform the area into a new master-planned waterfront mixed residential/commercial community. Pinnacle's remedial work resulted in the issuance of 11 Certificates of Compliance under the BC Environmental Management Act. The company excavated and securely disposed of almost 110,000 tonnes of contaminated soil, including 1,000 tonnes of hazardous waste, at a permitted facility. It also remediated two intertidal areas at the foreshore to risk-based standards; this resulted in the first Certificate of Compliance for an intertidal area in BC. Total remediation costs, initially estimated at $1.3 million, came to some $10 million.

Construction on Phase 1 of the project began in 2005, with the building of several residential highrises. Phase 1, which included construction of the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier, was completed in 2010 with the creation of a historical precinct including the restoration of heritage buildings and historical artifacts (including two heritage buildings and a vintage crane). Work on Phase 2 began in 2014, and included restoration of a former intertidal building berth, construction of three residential towers, and a pedestrian bridge across the building berth. The Pier development was completed in 2018.

Category 5:  RENEW - Redevelopment at the community scale

Greystone Village, Ottawa, Ont.

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Old Ottawa East is a mixed residential/commercial/industrial/institutional neighbourhood which became part of the City of Ottawa in 1907, but traces its roots back nearly 200 years. Institutionally, it includes the largely undeveloped Oblates property centering on the Edifice Deschâtelets. This tract of land within the urban core of Ottawa provided an opportunity for revitalizing an old neighbourhood in the city, restoring and improving community interaction and connectivity.

Centered around the Edifice Deschâtelets and its central tree-lined entranceway (both of which have heritage designations), Greystone Village is a 10.5 hectare mixed-use, master-planned community that brings modern architectural design inspired by the area's history. The development brings together some of the cherished attractions of Old Ottawa East, including the Rideau River shoreline, plus local parkland and pathway systems. Once completed, over 900 superbly designed homes -singles, towns and condos - will be carefully located to integrate with the existing historical buildings along with proposed retail space, pedestrian-friendly boulevards, a central event plaza, beautiful green spaces connected to the city's multi-use pathway network, and a scenic waterfront along the Rideau. A seniors' residence is also part of the project, allowing for ageing-in-place.

Investigations determined 100-year old fill (elevated metals and PAHs exceeding applicable provincial standards for residential/parkland redevelopment) were used on the eastern riverside. A three-phase remediation program (2015-2017) achieved generic soil quality standards by excavation and off-site landfill disposal, and processed bedrock from a city tunnel project was beneficially reused to backfill/construct engineered fill pads for the support of low-rise residential foundations. Screening-level risk assessment and required mitigation measures (clean soil cap) was used and allowed leaving impacted fill in place below the riverfront park corridor area; this will permit future community parkland uses. The project has received LEED ND v4 silver certification for the neighbourhood development plan.

Category 6:  REACH OUT - Communication, marketing and public engagement

Carcross-Tagish Management Corporation Stewardship Program, Carcross, Yukon

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From 1911 to 1969, Carcross was the site of the Chooutla Indian Residential School. Though the building was demolished in 1993, it left both a painful social legacy and legacy environmental impacts (anything from large amounts of waste from diesel fuel to old bed frames), resulting in contaminated soil and groundwater. In addition to the Chooutla School contamination, the community is affected by contamination associated with historic gold mines, mills and the associated tailings affecting soil, water and sediment. By the end of 1998, these tailing facilities were capped. Today, metal contamination (including arsenic, cadmium, lead and zinc) remain - at concentrations up to 1,000 greater than the applicable standards - and have a strongly negative effect on the community's confidence in claiming their rightful ancestral access to these lands, precluding their ability to drink the water or harvest berries, fish and game.

Supported by funding from Crown Indigenous Relations, Northern Affairs Canada, the Carcross-Tagish Management Corporation (C/TMC) has spearheaded the C/TMC Stewardship program since 2016. This program develops training "case studies" using these contaminated sites to educate at-risk community members in various components of assessment, remediation and reclamation of contaminated sites - all with the aim of supporting truth and reconciliation. This work is being completed in alignment with the truth and reconciliation process and provides a forum by which the Stewards are finding their way back to their communities, the land and their own heritage, learning once again that there is power and strength in their First Nations heritage.

An active form of reconciliation, the C/TMC Stewardship Program is a model to bring training, education and engagement to other First Nations Communities that have been negatively affected by environmental contamination as an active form of reconciliation. The education and training components of the Program can be applied not only to promote skill development and capacity building opportunities and restoring contaminated sites, but can also serve as a method of healing the trauma associated with Residential schools and increasing community members' engagement with their own history and culture.

Category 7:  Best small-scale project

East Village Junction, Calgary, Alta.

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What was once a former gas station site located in Calgary's East Village neighbourhood was reimagined in 2017 as a vibrant public programming space. Following a two-phase environmental report process that identified and located potential contaminants on the site, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) managed the remediation process and conducted ongoing soil samples throughout the demolition and excavation processes. This work included a decommissioning of one underground fuel tank and an adjacent fuel line in addition to an above ground fuel tank. Once the contamination was identified, the building was removed, the site was excavated and the contaminants were appropriately disposed of, and the site was backfilled with clean fill.

Following the remediation and cleanup of the site, CMLC leveled and paved it in order to deliver a community-based pop-up retail container park. Named East Village Junction, the CMLC team worked with C-Can Store Inc. to customize 12 retail shops using shipping containers for local retailers. Working in collaboration with Springboard Performance, four more shipping containers were fashioned into a performance stage and art piece. A 40-foot span arch and a 40-foot upright sentinel branded with the East Village Junction logo were constructed. CMLC designed a "container in the round" footprint which afforded a central courtyard envisioned as a "hipster's backyard". The courtyard was then appointed with astroturf, hedges, tables and a mixture of hard and soft seating, including a hammock.

Over the four-month summer activation, East Village Junction successfully contributed to the vitality of the East Village neighbourhood. Serving local residents for their basic retail needs, the Junction became a destination for Calgarians looking for a unique shopping experience and attracted over 50,000 visitors in 2017. The market acted as a platform to launch new businesses and an incubator for the arts.

Category 8:  Best large-scale project

Zibi, Ottawa, Ont. and Gatineau, Que.

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Zibi is an urban renewal project on a 16 hectare former industrial site along the waterfront in the heart of Ottawa and Gatineau. The site and surrounding area were significant to the Algonquin Anishnabe and other First Nations communities. It had been at one point been owned by the Wright family, lumber tycoon J.R. Booth, and pulp and paper entrepreneur E.B. Eddy. Domtar, final owner of the site, closed it in 2007. In 2015, leaders in sustainable development, Windmill Development Group, purchased the abandoned and derelict lands with a vision of turning them into a world-class sustainable community with a unique character and sense of place.

The site has widespread contamination, including metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, PAHs, PCBs and dioxins/furans, and must undergo extensive remediation. There is an estimated 450,000 tonnes of soil. Excavation and landfill disposal is the preferred remediation method due to the large footprint of the buildings and associated infrastructure.

Under the partnership of Windmill, Dream Unlimited and Theia Partners, the multi-phased construction project commenced in 2018 and is estimated to extend for up to 15 years. Demolition of the old mill buildings began in 2017 and should be largely complete by mid-2019. As of 2018, approximately 120,000 tonnes of soil has been removed from the Zibi site. The first new-build residential buildings will be occupied in Gatineau in 2018 and in Ontario in 2019.

The Zibi project will transform this contaminated, derelict and vacant site into an active, vibrant sustainable community with over 40 building blocks; several of the existing heritage buildings being are being re-adapted for a diversity of uses. The architecture of the building blocks will reflect this industrial heritage. The Zibi project will also comprise a large public realm component, including several plazas and three waterfront parks which will provide public access to spectacular views of the downtown core. The public realm is being designed in collaboration with Zibi's Algonquin partners to restore indigenous culture and flora and fauna to the area. The project is being designed, built and utilized under the One Planet Living framework, and is the first such community in Canada and only the tenth one in the world.

Category 9:  Best overall project

ERASE CIP 2018, Hamilton, Ont.

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The City of Hamilton has a historic need for brownfield redevelopment, which the Environmental Remediation and Site Enhancement Community Improvement Plan (ERASE CIP) has evolved since 2001 to address. The older industrial area of Hamilton has been the location of numerous past uses that could have potentially caused soil and groundwater contamination. This includes asphalt plants, petroleum storage, automobile wrecking yards, blacksmiths, textile mills, paint manufacturers, printers, dry cleaners and electroplaters. Some of these uses still exist in downtown Hamilton. It has long been difficult for communities to bring brownfield sites back into productive use because of the high costs of remediation, uncertainty about the level of contamination at many sites, and environmental liability issues.

The formal approval of the ERASE CIP in April 2001, followed by the expansion of the program in 2005, contributed to Hamilton's reputation as being a municipal leader in terms of brownfield redevelopment in Canada. Subsequent revisions to the ERASE CIP in 2010 and 2014 further expanded the ability of its programs to support brownfield redevelopment through the introduction of the Downtown Hamilton/West Harbourfront Remediation Loan Program and TAP programs.

The 2018 comprehensive review and subsequent revisions to ERASE CIP help to build on 16 years of program success, allowing the City of Hamilton to streamline the program and help to provide the financial tools needed to allow the City to continue to promote the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites. The revisions include an increase in the City's maximum contribution as part of the ERASE Study Grant (ESG) program for two studies from $25,000 to $35,000; inclusion of additional eligible costs to the ESG and ERASE Redevelopment Grant (ERG) program to include the study, removal and abatement of designated substances and hazardous material from the older industrial area, institutional buildings and designated heritage buildings; and an increase to the development charge demolition credit for older industrial area sites with approved ERG applications from five to ten years.

And Kingston Failed Tax Sales, Kingston, Ont.

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p>In 2010, fourteen properties were identified by the City of Kingston to be failed tax sale properties with probable contamination as assessed by the city. Following environmental site assessment, four were vested by the City for City purposes. The remaining ten properties were contaminated, abandoned sites and continued to be in multiple tax sales followed by failed tax sales processes. In 2010 the revitalization of these failed tax sale properties became a strategic priority of City Council.

In 2011, the city utilized Municipal Act and Fire Protection Act provisions to demolish physical hazards and acquire additional environmental information used to support a Request for Proposals to Purchase, Remediate and Redevelop nine of the ten remaining properties; two proposals for seven properties was received, resulting in one successful transaction in 2012. The City issued a second similar RFP in the fall of 2012 and received two proposals for two properties resulting in one successful transaction in 2014, which has received approval for City Brownfield Financial Assistance.

In late 2013, the city issued a third failed tax sale RFP for six contiguous properties and received two proposals that incorporated redevelopment plans for all six of the properties along with incorporation of two unopened city right of ways. The parcel was transferred to a private developer in June 2016. The new owner has received approval for a grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund and a brownfield initial study grant from the City of Kingston’s Community Improvement Plan (CIP) for the initial planning stages of the remediation.

One property was acquired by the City with the intent to undertake remediation and market it to a private developer as part of strategic neighborhood revitalization.

As of November 2016, nine former failed tax sale properties either have been, or are in the process of being, remediated and redeveloped. Only one property from the original fourteen remains abandoned.

The nine former failed tax sale properties successfully acquired by private redevelopers represent a commitment of $2 million in environmental remediation effort, $17 million in planned redevelopment construction, and will return an estimated $650,000 per year to municipal property tax revenues.

The procedures followed by the City of Kingston could be replicated by other municipalities throughout Ontario for properties that have been unsuccessful in a tax sale and have probable contamination issues from past uses.

Category 10:  Brownfielder of the Year

Chris De Sousa, Ryerson University School of Urban and Regional Planning, Toronto, Ont.

See Chris's Bio

Chris De Sousa has been a vigorous advocate for brownfield redevelopment throughout his academic career, dating back to at least 2000, and this continues to be a major focus of his research activity, along with the allied fields of urban environmental management, parks planning and sustainability. After earning his BA, MSc. and PhD. from the University of Toronto, Chris moved to the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM) where, among other activities, he was founding Co-director of the Brownfields Research Consortium from 2002 to 2011. The Consortium is a partnership among UWM faculty, government agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations involved in the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield properties. He worked on a project to reclaim the Menomonee Valley, a large Milwaukee brownfield. He returned to Canada in 2011 to join the faculty of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University, and became Director of the School in 2015.

His research work has addressed the economics of brownfield redevelopment, the role of government in brownfield redevelopment, renewable energy development on brownfields, and brownfield best practices, among other topics. He is currently working on a three-year research project examining brownfields redevelopment in Ontario, and presented some of his research on this at the Canadian Brownfields Network’s (CBN) 2017 Conference session “Research You Can Use”. The research Chris does is often focused on solutions to problems and generally practical approaches to them, rather than being restricted to issue identification and analysis. This gives his research work a practical value to the brownfields community. In addition, through his teaching, he has promoted brownfields to his students. His most recent success in this area has been igniting a passion for brownfields in Reanne Ridsdale, who has presented at the 2017 and 2018 CBN Conferences.

Chris joined the CBN Board of Directors in 2014 and became Vice-President in early 2017. He was one of the Directors responsible for launching CBN’s recent research initiative revisiting the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy’s (NRTEE) 2003 report and was instrumental in arranging partial project funding with Mitacs. Under his guidance, this project had a dual focus – identifying the state of federal and provincial involvement in, and support of, brownfield redevelopment, and a survey of brownfield stakeholders on progress made on NRTEE.

In addition to his work with CBN, Chris is a Steering Committee member on the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Brownfields/Land Reuse Health Initiative and serves on the Advisory/Executive Committees for Ryerson’s City Building Institute and Centre for Urban Research and Land Development. He is a Registered Professional Planner and member of both the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists, and thank you to our judges, sponsors and everyone who supported the Awards by attending the Gala!


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