Preferred systems, trackwork team selected for SkyTrain work

Key Takeaways:

  • The team includes Surrey-based contractor and SkyTrain construction veteran Western Pacific Enterprises. It also includes design, engineering and project management firm AtkinsRéalis.
  • The Surrey Langley SkyTrain project is a 16-kilometre extension of the Expo Line from King George Station to Langley City Centre
  • It is the third and final contract for the project. Major construction on Surrey Langley Skytrain is expected to begin this year.

The Whole Story:

B.C. has selected a preferred proponent team to design and build the systems and trackwork for the Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension project.

Transit Integrators BC has been invited to enter into final contract negotiations. The team is comprised of:

Transit Integrators BC will start initial design work and planning for the systems and trackwork of the project. Western Pacific Enterprises Ltd. is a Surrey-based company that has contributed to previous SkyTrain projects, including the original Expo Line, Millennium Line, Canada Line and the Evergreen extension.

Works related to the guideway and stations components of the project are underway along the new SkyTrain route. This includes work to relocate power lines and prepare for the start of major construction this year.

A rendering shows one of the project’s station designs. – Province of B.C.

The Surrey Langley SkyTrain project is a 16-kilometre extension of the Expo Line from King George Station to Langley City Centre, the first rapid-transit expansion south of the Fraser River in 30 years.

Once complete, the project will provide transportation for people in Surrey, Langley and across Metro Vancouver. Officials say passengers will be able to travel between Langley City and Surrey Centre in approximately 22 minutes and between Langley and downtown Vancouver in just over an hour.

The Surrey Langley SkyTrain project is being delivered through three separate contracts. In April 2024, the province announced the selection of South Fraser Station Partners to design and build eight new stations for the project, including cycling and walking paths around the new stations.

In March 2024, the province announced that SkyLink Guideway Partners has been chosen as the preferred proponent to design, build and finance the elevated guideway and associated roadworks, utilities and active transportation elements of the project.

Requests for proposals for all three phases were issued in early 2023 and formal contract announcements are anticipated in the coming months. Major construction on Surrey Langley Skytrain is expected to begin this year.

Key Takeaways:

  • As projects get more complex, collaboration and technology are becoming more of a necessity to achieve success.
  • Some industry leaders are moving towards standardizing components so the process can be sped up and industrialized.
  • Panelists strongly encouraged government officials, trade contractors, project owners, general contractors and more to engage with each other early, listen and better understand each other’s needs.
  • Having a consistent regulatory framework that is not constantly being changed would assist builders in finding more efficiencies and industrializing processes.

The Whole Story:

B.C. builders and aspiring tradespeople got a glimpse into the future of construction this month as industry leaders gathered at Pitt Meadows Plumbing & Mechanical’s massive industrialized construction headquarters in Maple Ridge, B.C. for the second annual Future of Work event. 

The festivities included a panel of experts sharing their thoughts on how collaboration can help accelerate innovation and improve the construction process. Attendees heard from Massive Canada CEO Gaetan Royer, Pitt Meadows Plumbing’s owner Steve Robinson, Turner senior project manager Kristine Szeto, City of Vancouver plumbing and mechanical inspections manager Phil White and ETRO Construction president Mike Maierle.

Robinson, who has led Pitt Meadows to embrace prefabrication, robotics, digital design and other technology, spoke about the role these innovations can play in the process.

“I think the big thing that the industry generally—whether it’s the mechanical industry, electrical or even the big GCs—needs to understand is that some of these next-generation technologies are allowing for a very quick, easy and fast generation of a totally collaborative model. And that’s without multiple layers of management by multiple people,” he said.  “The reality is there is a huge opportunity available to totally collaborate on what the finished system looks like. This is what the reality is today, and we need to just embrace it.”

The off-site construction approach has been embraced by B.C. based prefabricated mass timber company Massive Canada. Royer explained that his goal at Massive Canada is to move as much of MEP off-site and he believes that plumbing contractors, mechanical contractors and electrical contractors should try to do the same.

“Why? Well it’s the highest cost item for a project in most multi-family buildings like a six-story, apartment building. It’s 50% of the cost and It’s mostly repeatable stuff,” explained Royer. “We need to standardize and industrialize. The only way to do that is to simplify MEP at the very base of designing the building. There should not be 20 different unit types in a 100 unit condo apartment or rental apartment. So industrialization in standardization has to be as important as aesthetics.”

White noted that municipalities are often seen as the villain in construction but stressed that Vancouver wants to support innovation and help builders build.

“In the city Vancouver is, the codes are so outdated a lot of the time, industry changes so fast and to get that into account is very, very difficult,” he said. “If you have a great product that meets or exceeds what is in today’s code, it’s very difficult to bring that into the national code, to the provincial code and then into the city of Vancouver code.”

He added that Vancouver has its own charter and own building code and is committed to making sure those innovations can be included rather than ge held back.  

ETRO Construction is looking to lead the way for other general contractors by encouraging trade contractors to embrace collaboration and by developing their own standardized products.  

Future of Work attendees tour Pitt Meadows Plumbing & Mechanical’s Shop XL in Maple Ridge, B.C.

“For us, it’s a collaborative model. We don’t hard-bid any work. What we need are capable contractors of every form who can come in and collaborate on the design assist basis,” said Maierle. “If you are a mechanical contractor, it doesn’t matter. If you’re a 10-person sheet metal company or a 200-person contractor, we need you to have expertise in your office. It’s not just pricing. And second, you must have the ability to produce work off-site.”

ETRO has big plans to be a leader in collaborative, industrialized construction. Their team intends to open a collaborative trade prefabrication centre at their warehouse in Burnaby and create standardized construction products that can be used by the entire industry.  

“We’re creating a space where we can bring an actual mechanical drywall steel together to build work collaboratively and so that model we think is going to help show some of these smaller medium-sized Companies how they can start to scale,” said Maierle. “If we all just continue to work the way we have from the last 100 years, we’re never going to get anywhere.”

He added that ETRO expects to have 20 to 30 products in the coming decade that other builders and contractors are going to use.

“I want to build a manufacturing machine that can not only support us, not only our local industry but a national industry that really needs progressive change,” he said.

Szeto spoke about how collaboration is becoming more and more of a requirement for big sites but can also be applied at a smaller scale.

“The projects are getting more and more complex, they’re taking up more and more physical space. There’s more systems. There’s more integration required. So collaboration is not just an advantage anymore. It’s absolutely necessary for the success of contracts,” she said. “The more and more that you do this collaboration. When you run into unforeseen problems which are bound to happen on any projects. You’re going to work through and deal with those issues far earlier than when it’s going to be too costly.”

The two-day event also sought to address construction’s workforce shortage. It included an educational showcase for students across Metro Vancouver considering a career in the trades and what the future of construction looks like.

B.C.’s 7th annual Construction and Skilled Trades Month has begun. It will serve as an opportunity to recognize excellence across the industry in two areas of priority: culture change and leadership.

This year’s celebration highlights the importance of the industry’s mentors in shaping the new generation of construction workers, and marks five years of Builders Code culture training, policies and commitments, making construction a more welcoming and inclusive career choice.

“Construction Month allows us to shine a bright light on the impact our industry has on the lives of British Columbians,” said Chris Atchison, president of the BC Construction Association (BCCA). “92% of construction owners are small businesses who employ fewer than 20 employees. Day after day, they deliver the important housing, institutional, commercial, industrial and infrastructure projects our province needs. They work hard, and they get the job done. We welcome this opportunity to give them the recognition and respect they deserve.”

According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, in 2021, there were 215,800 workers in B.C. employed in construction, representing 8.1% of provincial employment. Within the subsectors 121,300 workers were employed in trade contracting, 67,300 workers in construction of buildings, and 27,300 in heavy and civil engineering construction.

Construction Month is a celebration of the collective success of BC’s construction industry, as well as an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding leadership of those companies who inspire by example. The following companies are being recognized this year:

Awards for construction industry culture

The Builders Code Champion Awards recognize four employers who are leading the way in advancing the culture of BC’s industrial, commercial, institutional and multi-unit residential housing construction industry. Recruiting and retaining a diverse range of talent is critical to alleviating BC’s construction workforce shortage. By exemplifying Builders Code principles in their workplace culture, these BC companies have positioned themselves as employers of choice.

The 2024 Builders Code Champions are:
• Turner Construction Company (Vancouver) – Workplace Culture Champion
• Houle Electric (Victoria) – Recruiting, Hiring and Retention Champion
• CGI Constructors (Victoria/Vancouver) – Recruiting, Hiring and Retention Champion
• EllisDon (Vancouver) – Community Champion

For more information about Builders Code Champion Award winners, visit builderscode.ca.

Awards for leadership

The Leadership Awards are an annual acknowledgement of outstanding contributions by BC construction companies, highlighting the important legacy from which future generations can benefit. This year’s recipients were selected in partnership with BC’s Regional Construction Associations: the Northern Regional Construction Association (NRCA), the Southern Interior Construction Association (SICA), the Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA) and the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA).

The 2024 Leadership Award winners are:
• Westcana Electric Ltd. (Prince George)
• Acres Enterprises (Kamloops)
• Heritage Masonry (Victoria)
• Pitt Meadows Plumbing & Mechanical Systems Ltd. (Maple Ridge)

The BC Construction Association is also celebrating Construction Month with 50 grants of $250 and 50 grants of $500 each for companies to buy their workers lunch as part of the #LunchBoxChallenge. Currently, all grants have been claimed.

Even without a grant, the association is encouraging companies to still treat a crew to lunch this month and challenge other construction employers to do the same. Be sure to tag #lunchboxchallenge.

The Leadership Awards are sponsored by LNG Canada, BCCA, and the National Construction Council, as Title and Platinum Sponsors of Construction Month 2024.

For more information about Leadership Award winners, visit constructionmonth.ca.

Key Takeaways:

  • The certificate comes with 22 legally enforceable provincial conditions, including plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, opportunities for First Nations’ monitoring of construction and operations, opportunities for Indigenous employment and procurement, and measures to reduce impacts on water quality, air quality, and cultural and archeological resources.
  • Once constructed, the TMJ will be the first facility on Canada’s west coast that will enable trans-oceanic vessels to fuel with liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the Port of Vancouver.
  • Tilbury Jetty GP Inc. estimates construction expenditures between $154 million and $260 million over four years, supporting more than 1,000 full-time jobs. The facility is expected to operate for a minimum of 30 years.

The Whole Story:

An Environmental Assessment Certificate has been issued to Tilbury Jetty Limited Partnership for the Tilbury Marine Jetty (TMJ) Project. FortisBC welcomed the approval and is now awaiting a decision from the Government of Canada.

The TMJ project consists of building a jetty, or dock, on the south arm of the Fraser River adjacent to FortisBC’s existing Tilbury LNG facility. Once constructed, the TMJ will be the first facility on Canada’s west coast that will enable trans-oceanic vessels to fuel with liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the Port of Vancouver.

FortisBC stated that LNG from Tilbury is among the cleanest in the world with a carbon intensity that is about 30% lower than the global average because the facility is powered by hydroelectricity. Using LNG from Tilbury rather than conventional marine fuel reduces GHG emissions by up to 27 %. Switching all ships that call at the Port of Vancouver from conventional marine fuel to LNG marine fuel would also remove 90% of the particulate matter associated with marine shipping from the local airshed, according to a third-party study.

In 2022, FortisBC signed an agreement with the Musqueam Indian Band that includes options for Musqueam to acquire equity ownership in the projects at Tilbury, subject to regulatory approvals and certain conditions precedent.

The certificate comes with 22 legally enforceable provincial conditions that must be followed over the life of the project. These include plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, opportunities for First Nations’ monitoring of construction and operations, opportunities for Indigenous employment and procurement, and measures to reduce impacts on water quality, air quality, and cultural and archeological resources.

The project also requires federal approval. The B.C. EAO carried out the assessment on behalf of the federal government under a “substitution agreement.” This meant one assessment carried out by the EAO was used to support separate decisions by each level of government, eliminating the duplication of two assessments for a single project.

The EAO concluded that the project would contribute to cumulative effects from marine shipping and recommended 181 federal mitigation measures to address impacts in areas of federal jurisdiction. These include measures to reduce impacts related to marine shipping, marine accidents, greenhouse gas emissions, underwater noise, fish and fish habitat, southern resident killer whales and First Nations fishing.

While the federal decision is pending, the ministers have written to the federal ministers of Environment and Climate Change, and Transport, and are urging them to impose the EAO-recommended mitigation measures if the project receives federal approval.

Key Takeaways: 

  • The corporation said 2024 will be filled with construction milestones. 
  • Major projects include the BMO Centre expansion, 17 Ave Extension & Victoria Park/Stampede Station Rebuild project and the Calgary Event Centre. 
  • CMLC plans to issue a Progressive Design Build RFP in the coming weeks the design and construction of Calgary’s new event centre. 

The Whole Story:

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) is on track to advance more than $1 billion in major project completions and initiations this year. 

With the BMO Centre expansion and 17 Ave Extension & Victoria Park/Stampede Station Rebuild projects nearing completion, the late-2024 Arts Commons Transformation project construction groundbreaking approaching, and procurement underway for the new 6 St S.E. underpass, CMLC is preparing for a 2024 full of city-building milestones.

“As Calgary’s go-to city-building placemakers, CMLC has a proven track record of designing and delivering some of Calgary’s most transformational projects on behalf of our partners,” said Kate Thompson, CMLC’s president and CEO. “2024 will be a huge year for project completions and groundbreakings, and for continued progress and development for downtown Calgary’s east end. Our team is poised and ready to advance more than $1 billion in major city-shaping vertical and infrastructure builds this year, and to steward further development and placemaking in East Village.”

In 2024, CMLC will continue to oversee the development of several mixed-use residential projects in East Village, which includes projects like BOSA Development’s Arris Residences, which began leasing on 337 units in late 2023, and Alston Properties’ EV606, where construction is underway on 44 residential units and 9,000 SF of main floor retail space. 

CMLC says it is seeing sustained development interest in the community, recently signing Letters of Intent for three development parcels.

In the downtown core, CMLC is leading the Arts Commons Transformation and Olympic Plaza Transformation projects on behalf of Arts Commons and the City of Calgary, and are preparing to reveal the design for the Arts Commons Transformation expansion – a new building with a 1,000-seat theatre and 200-seat studio theatre – this spring and anticipate breaking ground on the expansion later this year. 

The Olympic Plaza Transformation project, which will support Arts Commons’ vision for an expanded, integrated Arts Commons campus, is also advancing through the design phase in 2024.

In The Culture + Entertainment District (The C+E), CMLC is preparing to bring more than $600 million of major city-building projects over the finish line in 2024 in partnership with the Calgary Stampede and the city. The BMO Centre expansion is expected to open for Stampede 2024 and the Victoria Park/Stampede Station Rebuild and 17 Ave S.E. Extension projects will are also on track for completion this summer.

The BMO Centre Expansion will make it the the largest convention centre space in Western Canada. – CMLC

In CMLC’s capacity as district construction coordinator, the team will continue to support the coordination of the many developments in The C+E, including the new Calgary Event Centre and the Green Line LRT’s 4 St S.E. station, to ensure access is maintained at all times for the many Calgarians and visitors who visit the BMO Centre and the Scotiabank Saddledome for events every year.

And as some of CMLC’s major builds in The C+E approach completion, the team is preparing to initiate another major related project: the new 6 St S.E. Underpass. As steward of the Rivers District Master Plan, CMLC will lead the delivery of the district infrastructure projects in support of the Calgary Event Centre. The 6 St S.E. Underpass is the first of those projects to get underway.

“The underpass was envisioned in the Rivers District Master Plan in 2019 as a critical infrastructure connection to support future development in the area, including a new Event Centre, the expanded BMO Centre and more than 4M square feet of future mixed-use development,” said Thompson. “CMLC has proven experience building infrastructure of this kind. In 2011, early in our stewardship of East Village, we delivered the 4 St S.E. Underpass, which has completely transformed the way people travel through downtown Calgary’s east end.”

In 2023, CMLC began the early scoping work required to support the future underpass. Now, with the Event Centre’s definitive agreements and funding in place, CMLC says it is ready to move the project into the next stage of development. 

CMLC will issue a Progressive Design Build RFP in the coming weeks to identify a project team that can support the design and construction. Early works on the project are anticipated to begin in 2024, and the overall construction schedule will be refined in due course.

“CMLC is proud to serve as steward of the Rivers District, and as development manager for some of our city’s most-anticipated capital builds,” said Kate. “Together, alongside the City of Calgary’s downtown revitalization work, these investments will put Calgary on the map as a Tier 1 tourism and hospitality destination, attracting international meetings and conventions audiences, dramatically transforming Calgary’s creative future, and fundamentally re-shaping the way that Calgarians experience downtown Calgary.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Officials are launching of a one-stop shop that eliminates the need for multiple permitting applications across different ministries. It’s expected to reduce permit timelines by two months.
  • Officials are also launching a pilot incentive program to help homeowners build secondary suites to rent. The program will provide approximately 3,000 homeowners with forgivable loans of up to $40,000.
  • The pilot program, set to launch in early spring 2024.

The Whole Story:

B.C. is looking to accelerate project permitting and incentivize homeowners to rent out secondary suites with new policy changes. 

“People in our province deserve a decent place to live they can actually afford to rent or buy, but a chronic housing shortage and long permit approval times are frustrating that achievable goal,” said Premier David Eby. “Our government is taking action. We’re making it easier and faster to get provincial permits to build new homes, and offering financial support for people who could build a suite they can rent out at more affordable rates.”

Streamlining permitting 

The first action focuses on speeding up the permitting process through the launch of a one-stop shop that eliminates the need for multiple permitting applications across different ministries. The Single Housing Application Service (SHAS) aims to create a simpler permitting application for homebuilders. With the introduction of SHAS, the province expects permit timelines to be reduced by two months.

“Our government is laser-focused on taking action on housing,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “One way we’re doing this is by eliminating the current permitting backlog and speeding up homebuilding project approvals with the launch of a user-friendly tool that connects people to project experts. These expert ‘navigators’ will guide homebuilders through the provincial permitting process and provide a personal, one-stop shop that will streamline the process.”

The SHAS connects homebuilders to “navigators,” dedicated staff in the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, who guide applicants through all stages of permit applications, act as the single, dedicated point of contact for all information related to homebuilding permits and co-ordinate permitting decisions across ministries.

Encouraging rentals 

The second initiative centres on secondary suites and comes ahead of planned legislation this fall to make secondary suites legal throughout the province, and a pilot incentive program to help homeowners build secondary suites.

To help homeowners navigate this process, the province has launched a new comprehensive guide, titled Home Suite Home. The guide provides people with the information to prepare to build and manage a rental suite.

The guide can be used as a resource for people preparing to access the Secondary Suite Incentive Program (SSIP). The pilot program, set to launch in early spring 2024, will provide approximately 3,000 homeowners with forgivable loans of up to $40,000 to create a new secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit on their property. The loans will only go to properties that will be rented below market rates. Additional eligibility requirements of the program have been made available so people interested can prepare ahead of the launch.

“We’ve heard from a lot of homeowners that they would love to create a rental suite on their property, but find the process to build and manage one confusing and time-consuming,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “Our new Home Suite Home guide and secondary suite pilot program will clearly and concisely provide homeowners with the information they need to make an informed choice on whether adding a rental unit is right for them.”

These initiatives are part of the Province’s Homes for People action plan. Announced in spring 2023.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ontario announced it will spend $5.4 million to build and deploy three cutting-edge mobile tech classrooms.
  • The units will include hands-on stations and simulators the help young people experience welding , crane operation, electrical work and other trades.
  • The first Trades & Tech Truck was rolled out last year and reached around 40,000 people. The new trucks are expected to reach nearly 500,000.

The Whole Story:

Trades training is hitting the road in Ontario.

In a move to address the province’s labor shortage in the skilled trades sector, Ontario announced it will spend $5.4 million to build and deploy three cutting-edge mobile tech classrooms. These innovative classrooms, a collaborative effort with Skills Ontario, will traverse the province, imparting essential knowledge and practical skills to students and young individuals interested in pursuing careers in the skilled trades.

The mobile classrooms, named Trades & Tech Trucks, promise an immersive learning experience through hands-on stations and simulators, offering training opportunities in a diverse range of disciplines, including:

  • Electrical systems
  • Welding
  • Crane operation
  • Auto-painting
  • Tire and brake work
  • Heavy machinery

“By 2025, one in five jobs in Ontario will be in the skilled trades,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour. “These are rewarding, well-paying careers that you can build a family and a life around. That’s why our government will continue to invest in cutting-edge programs that give students the chance to experience the 144 trades and life-changing opportunities available to them.”

Experience a virtual tour of a Tech & Trades Truck. – Skilled Trades Ontario

The province is relying on tradespeople to help with its ambitious infrastructure plans that include constructing 1.5 million homes by 2031. To meet this goal, Ontario will require over 100,000 new skilled trades workers within the decade. The Trades & Tech Trucks, each measuring 12 meters in length, will serve as platforms for students to explore the skilled trades while engaging with industry professionals, discovering local training opportunities, colleges, and potential employers.

Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario, spoke about the impact of their existing mobile classroom program, saying: “Since rolling out our first Trades & Tech truck last year, our mobile classroom has provided thousands of students with hands-on learning experiences. This program ignites an awareness of opportunities in the skilled trades and tech field that inspires more young people to pursue these careers. We want to thank and recognize Minister McNaughton and Premier Ford for the leadership and investments they have provided to build the skilled workforce of tomorrow.”

The efforts by the Ontario government have already shown promising results, with a 24 percent surge in apprenticeship registrations in the past year alone. This increase, which includes a 28 percent jump among women, is attributed to the government’s significant investment of over $1 billion in the skilled trades sector over three years and the establishment of the dedicated agency, Skilled Trades Ontario.

On the education side, the province intends to go even further. Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, announced plans to make technology education courses mandatory for all high school students starting September 2024. The new mobile tech classrooms will further complement this initiative by supporting 150,000 students annually, equipping them with the critical skills needed to secure well-paying jobs and thrive in the competitive job market.

The Trades & Tech Truck program was launched as a pilot in 2022. It reached over 40,000 students and young people across more than 50 events throughout the province, from Toronto to Ottawa and Thunder Bay.

Funded through the government’s Skills Development Fund, the new mobile classrooms are set to be fully operational by the summer of 2024, welcoming an annual footfall of 150,000 visitors.

Key Takeaways:

  • A major partnership has formed to protect animals in the East Kootenays by building a wildlife bridge.
  • The project is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Forests, the Village of Radium Hot Springs, and Parks Canada
  • the Radium herd represents one of the last viable bighorn sheep populations in the region. 
  • Approximately 10% of the herd falls victim to collisions with vehicles each year.

The Whole Story:

Animals need bridges too. 

To safeguard both the local residents and the iconic bighorn sheep, a new wildlife overpass is set to be constructed near Mile Hill, just south of Radium Hot Springs in B.C. The innovative project, a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Forests, the Village of Radium Hot Springs, and Parks Canada, aims to mitigate vehicle collisions with the bighorn sheep along Highway 93/95, while providing a safe passage for the creatures.

The Radium Wildlife Overpass, scheduled to be tendered in the coming weeks, will encompass approximately six kilometers of wildlife fencing and strategically positioned gates, ensuring a guided path for animals towards the overpass and safely across the busy highway. Officials stated that not only will the initiative help reduce the risk of accidents and enhance the safety of highway users, but it will also protect the local bighorn sheep herd, which holds immense significance to First Nations people and the entire community of the East Kootenays.

Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure, emphasized the importance of prioritizing public safety while preserving the region’s precious wildlife. “It’s vital that we keep people safe and protect these animals that are so critical to regional biodiversity,” he said. “With the help of our partners, this new overpass will support safe passage for the bighorn sheep, protecting this herd that is so important to local First Nations and all the people of the East Kootenays.”

Several prominent entities have joined forces as project partners, including Parks Canada, the Village of Radium Hot Springs, Teck Resources Ltd., the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Ktunaxa Nation Council, and the Shuswap Band. Construction on the wildlife overpass is expected to commence in the near future.

The project comes as part of a broader campaign to mitigate collisions between wildlife and vehicles. Recent efforts include the installation of prominent wildlife signage, flashing LED warning signs to alert drivers of sheep presence, and a message sign that highlights changes in sheep activity. Additionally, the speed limit in the Mile Hill area was temporarily reduced to 70 kilometers per hour. Collaborating closely with the Shuswap First Nation and Ktunaxa Nation, the Ministry staff have provided monitoring of the bighorn sheep herd.

Conservation groups have emphasized the critical importance of safeguarding the Radium herd, which represents one of the last viable bighorn sheep populations in the region. 

It has become a major issue for wildlife in the region. Approximately 10% of the herd falls victim to collisions with vehicles each year, resulting in a significant decline in numbers. The population dwindled from approximately 230 sheep in 2003 to a mere 120 in 2019, underscoring the urgent need for effective measures to reduce collisions.

Reports reveal that B.C. sees over 5,400 wildlife-motor vehicle collisions annually, with numerous incidents involving deer, elk, bear, and moose. Deer, in particular, contribute to approximately 85% of wildlife collisions across the province. Taking these statistics into account, B.C. has become a frontrunner in wildlife conservation efforts within the transportation sector. The province boasts over 600 kilometers of wildlife exclusion fencing, surpassing any other transportation agency in North America, and holds the title of having the highest number of wildlife overpasses in Canada.

SiteNews has news about jobs.

The digital publication and media brand wants to do its part to bring senior-level construction professionals and employers together by launching a new job board for Canada.

Launched last fall, SiteNews aims to be Canadian construction’s modern voice that informs and elevates the industry. 

The job board will be integrated with the SiteNews website which provides construction news and insight, drawing in tens of thousands readers from across the country every month. 

The SiteNews team explained that the job board will harness the power of their leadership-heavy audience, their website traffic, newsletter subscribers and social media presence to amplify job searches. 

“Our mission is to celebrate and elevate the construction sector,” said Andrew Hansen, SiteNews co-founder. “We have a platform that reaches thousands of senior-level construction leaders and we want to leverage that reach to connect job seekers and employers. Behind every successful construction project is an all-star team. We want to help you build yours.” 

The team explained that for years, finding experienced job candidates has been one of the top concerns for the Canadian construction industry. Leading organizations looking to grow have often struggled to fill key executive level roles. The latest 10-year forecast from BuildForce Canada sees overall hiring requirements in the industry exceeding 299,000 due to the retirement of approximately 20% of the 2022 labour force and growth in worker demand of more than 54,000. 

The industry is expected to draw an estimated 237,800 first-time entrants aged 30 and younger from the local population, leaving the industry with a possible retirement-recruitment gap of more than 61,000 workers. 

Employers agree that finding and retaining talent is a top concern, especially as the demand for infrastructure and housing continues to rise. According to a recent survey of construction companies in B.C. by the B.C Construction Association, the skilled labour shortage was listed as the most pressing issue on the industry’s minds. 

“SiteNews Jobs is built to connect the top talent in our industry with premium opportunities. We believe our industry is one of the best places to build a career,” said the SiteNews team. “From marketing to operations and everything in between. We plan to create a place where the most unique opportunities can be highlighted to help companies and industry professionals find the match that allows the best to keep building.”

Check out SiteNews Jobs here. Job posters can try the board out for free for a limited time here.

EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare (EDIH) has reached financial close on the South Niagara Hospital project. The consortium was selected by Infrastructure Ontario and Niagara Health to design, build, finance, and maintain the South Niagara hospital as part of a $3.6 billion fixed-price contract. 

The contract reflects the payments made during construction, the substantial completion payment and the monthly service payments before inflation adjustments.

“It was with tremendous efforts put forth by a great deal of people to reach this milestone,” said Joey Comeau, executive vice president and chief operating officer of EllisDon Capital. “EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare is excited to reach commercial and financial close and we are looking forward to delivering this monumental project for the communities of South Niagara.”

The 1.2 million square foot, 11-storey modernized facility, will consolidate and expand acute care services across the region. In addition to emergency, critical care and surgical services, the South Niagara Hospital will feature several centres of excellence specializing in stroke, complex care, geriatrics and geriatric psychiatry, and wellness in aging.

In addition to being LEED Silver certified, the South Niagara Hospital is working towards being the first WELL-certified hospital in Canada, incorporating design elements that promote health and well-being for everyone who uses it. These improved spaces will prioritize the mental health and well-being of staff, patients and visitors. 

The hospital will also feature an Indigenous healing space and garden. Indigenous partners provided input into the design. The spaces were incorporated to create culturally safe and welcoming areas for Indigenous Peoples.

EDIH expects to begin construction this summer. The hospital will take five years to build, with occupancy planned for 2028.

Key Takeaways:

  • Researchers believe that a long-defunct waterway was used to help transport materials.
  • The team used pollen-derived vegetation patterns to reconstruct 8,000-year fluvial variations on the Giza floodplain. 
  • Previously, there was little specific evidence of how these ancient waterways rose and fell over the centuries.

It’s a question mankind has been pondering for centuries: How were the pyramids built?

New research is providing more answers. 

The Great Pyramid of Giza, or Khufu Pyramid, is one of the most iconic human-built structures in all history. A team of researchers, who published their findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, believe ancient builders may have been aided by now defunct waterways. 

“It is now accepted that ancient Egyptian engineers exploited a former channel of the Nile to transport building materials and provisions to the Giza plateau,” wrote the researchers. “However, there is a paucity of environmental evidence regarding when, where, and how these ancient landscapes evolved.”

The team’s new palaeoecological analyses have helped to reconstruct an 8,000-year fluvial history of the Nile in this area, showing that the former waterscapes and higher river levels around 4,500 years ago facilitated the construction of the Giza Pyramid Complex.

“The pyramids of Giza originally overlooked a now defunct arm of the Nile,” reads the report. “This fluvial channel, the Khufu branch, enabled navigation to the Pyramid Harbor complex but its precise environmental history is unclear.”

The researchers sought to fill in the blanks using pollen-derived vegetation patterns to reconstruct 8,000-year of fluvial variations on the Giza floodplain. 

“After a high-stand level concomitant with the African Humid Period, our results show that Giza’s waterscapes responded to a gradual insolation-driven aridification of East Africa, with the lowest Nile levels recorded at the end of the Dynastic Period,” said the team. “The Khufu branch remained at a high-water level (∼40% of its Holocene maximum) during the reigns of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, facilitating the transportation of construction materials to the Giza Pyramid Complex.”

According to the Smithsonian, the pyramid’s base spread over 13 acres and its sides were built at an angle of 51 degrees 52 minutes and were over 755 feet long. The original structure reached 481 feet high but currently it sits at 450 feet high. 

Experts estimate that the structure’s stone blocks have an average weight of more than two tons apiece, with the largest weighing as much as fifteen tons each. 

Key Takeaways:

  • By 2025, new buildings in Victoria, B.C. must be zero carbon. 
  • This is part of larger plans to be completely on renewable energy by 2050.
  • The move would make it one of the first B.C. cities to have a zero carbon construction standard.

The Whole Story:

Starting in 2025 Victoria will require all new construction to be zero carbon. The city noted that the new goal is part is of its accelerated climate action plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent before 2050.

The requirement will come on the heels of the the BC Building Code carbon pollution standards that start this year.

The zero carbon standard is five years ahead of B.C.’s carbon requirements. The city stated that the new requirements are expected to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from new buildings. By 2050 the city plans to also switch over to 100 per cent renewable energy. The switch could trip up to 7 per cent of the total community emissions needed to reach those 2050 goals.

A chart from the Global Alliance For Buildings and Construction shows emissions from the built environment. – Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction

The city boasted that it is one of the first municipalities to establish a zero carbon polluting standard for construction and steer away from fossil fuels for water and space heating.

The requirements and schedule were set after an engagement process with the local building industry, co-led by the city of Victoria, the district of Saanich and the district of Central Saanich with support from the Capital Regional District (CRD). The engagement focused on how best to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new construction through the BC Energy Step Code and the forthcoming carbon pollution standards.

According to a report by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, buildings were responsible for 38 per cent of global carbon emissions in 2020. This was followed by the transportation industry, which contributed 23 per cent of emissions. The report accounted for emissions produced during construction as well as operation, including natural gas heating or coal-powered electricity.