The National Research Council of Canada is establishing a special centre for researching sustainable infrastructure on the campus of the University of Regina. The centre will work with the City of Regina itself in an arrangement called the “Communities of Tomorrow Partnership.”
The new NRC Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure Research is funded for five years by a $10 million allocation in the February 2003 federal budget. The research will use the city to apply new technologies, and will be looking at infrastructure in the context of social and economic activities, Guy Felio of the NRC told Canadian Consulting Engineer.
NRC’s initial focus will be on municipal water management practices. Other partners will be working in areas like energy conservation, waste management and affordable housing.
Meanwhile, in a new report released last month in Winnipeg, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy said that Ottawa’s approach to cities was unfocused and in need of reform.
The report, entitled “Environmental Quality in Canadian Cities: The Federal Role,” pointed out that urban sprawl has continued as cities become less populated, and more people are relying on cars rather than urban transit.
The report recommends that Federal infrastructure funding should be granted only for projects where the municipality can identify and quantify expected improvements to environmental quality, such as better air or water quality. In addition, a 100% GST rebate should be granted for green infrastructure projects such as public transit, water and sewage treatment plants, renewable energy generation and community energy systems, the report recommends. “Urban environmental quality can be greatly improved through federal fiscal policies that address the interrelated issues of transportation and energy use,” said David McGuinty, President and CEO of the Round Table.