August 1, 2011
By Canadian Consulting Engineer
First Nations partner for Keeyask Station
Work began this summer on infrastructure for the $5.6-billion Keeyask hydroelectric generating station on the Nelson River in Manitoba.
The 695-MW station (“Keeyask” means “gull” in Cree) will be located 725 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg and 175 kilometres north of Thompson. The site lies upstream of the Kettle Generating Station which was built in 1974.
The Keeyask station is the second hydroelectric project that Manitoba Hydro is developing in partnership with First Nations. The previous partnership was for the Wuskwatim station, which is nearing completion.
Historically, First Nations have strongly opposed large hydroelectric developments because the stations required flooding large areas of their ancestral hunting and fishing grounds. In the past decade, however, the provincial power companies have been finding ways to work more cooperatively with Aboriginal peoples, and though relations can still sometimes be fractious, the two groups have signed various types of agreements.
The Keeyask development will require flooding approximately 45 square kilometres of land, creating a reservoir of 93 square kilometres. There will be seven generator units. The target is 2019 for the first unit to go into service.
The joint partnership between the Keeyask Cree Nations and Manitoba Hydro gives the Keeyask the right to own 25% of the partnership. The partnership is now finalizing the environmental impact assessment.
Preliminary conceptual design for the generating station and infrastructure was done by KGS Acres. The final design for the infrastructure was by a consortium of AECOM, Dillon Consulting and SNC-Lavalin.
Stantec, North/South Consultants and InterGroup Consultants have worked on the environmental assessments. The selection for who will do the final design for the generating station is in process.
Taking part in the Keeyask partnership are the Tataskweyak and Fox Lake Cree, and War Lake and York Factory First Nations.
Ottawa’s LRT to run shallower
In early July, the design for Ottawa’s new light rail transit line across the downtown was modified to place the 3-kilometre underground tunnel at a shallower depth.
The tunnel will run below Queen Street, a block north of its original route along Albert Street, and will be bored at a depth of 16 metres instead of 40 metres. The change saves $400 million on the $2.1 billion project.
The new east-west LRT line is 12 kilometres in total with 13 stations. Capital Transit Partners, a joint venture of STV Canada Consulting, URS Canada, Jacobs and Morrison Hershfield, is doing the preliminary engineering and project management for the project. Construction will start in December.
Vancouver seawall strengthened
The 75-year-old seawall around Vancouver’s Stanley Park has been rehabilitated. Worley Parsons was the consulting engineer, working with Vancouver’s Parks Board.
The ocean had gradually worn away the grout keeping the boulders together in the old seawall. The crews had to work alongside a 42-inch diameter pressurized sewer line made of fibre glass — an unusual material. Work also sometimes had to be done overnight in a short four-hour window between tides.
York University expands engineering
York University north of Toronto is planning a major expansion to its engineering programs. In June the university and Ontario government announced a $50-million capital investment for a new engineering building: “one of the largest expansions in the university’s history.”
At present, York University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering offers onlycomputer and software engineering, geomatics, and space engineering.
Also, this summer the faculty is moving into a new Life Sciences building on the Keele Street campus. This $70-million, 14,860-sq.m facility has modular CL-2 level labs and a “randomized” design for the building envelope. It was designed by NXL Architects with SSG, Blackwell Bowick (structural), Crossey (mechanical-electrical) R.V. Anderson (civil), Enermodal (LEED), Arencon (code), Aercoustics (acoustics) and RWDI (environmental).
Sudbury tunnel project wins U.S. award
R.V. Anderson Associates of Toronto has won the American Public Works Association Project of the Year Award for the City of Greater Sudbury South End Sewage Rock Tunnel Project.
The project won in the environment ($25 to $75 million) category. It involved blasting a 6.5-kilometre tunnel through bedrock 25 metres below the surface.
B.C. Auditor wants environmental approvals followed up
The Auditor General of British Columbia, John Doyle, has found serious faults in how the government’s Environmental Assessment Office oversees projects that it certifies.
In particular, the auditor general was perturbed that the office is not following up on projects to make sure they are fulfilling requirements that were imposed as a condition for getting approval.
In a report issued July 2011, Doyle recommended that the Environmental Assessment Office should conduct post-certificate evaluations of projects. He was also concerned that commitments made in submitting projects for approval are written in language that is too vague.
CSCE elects new president
T.R. (Randy) Pickle, P.Eng. of Morrison Hershfield has been elected president of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE).
Reg Andres, P.Eng., vice-president of R.V. Anderson Associates, Toronto, has received the James A. Vance Award from CSCE.
Sean Brophy, P.Eng., has been appointed as president of Opus International Consultants (Canada). John Boyle, P.Eng. will succeed Brophy as president of Opus DaytonKnight in North Vancouver.
CH2M HILL has appointed Gareth Lifton, P.Eng. of Calgary as the firm’s global leader for asset management.
Emmanuelle Sauriol, ing., of Dessau in Montreal has been invited to join the board of the International Institute for Sustainable Development.