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2010/61 (a)

Backgrounder

Station Pointe Receives EQuilibrium™ Communities Initiative Funding from the Government of Canada


The Communitas Group Ltd. has been awarded $481,000 in funding under the EQuilibrium™ Communities Initiative for its Station Pointe neighbourhood development in Edmonton, Alberta.

EQuilibrium™ Communities is a three-year, $4.2-million collaborative sustainable community demonstration initiative of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) under the Government of Canada’s ecoACTION umbrella. The initiative will continue until the end of 2012.

The EQuilibrium™ Communities Initiative provides financial assistance for technical and promotional activities of selected neighbourhood development projects, which through their planning, design, implementation and operation, will provide measurable improvements over current approaches in the areas of energy and water consumption, protection of the natural environment, land-use planning, sustainable transportation and other features. Capital construction costs are not provided through the initiative.

EQuilibrium™ Communities project submissions were chosen through a national competition and evaluated by an external panel of industry experts against the following criteria:

Energy – an energy-efficient community that balances energy supply and use to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

Land Use and Housing – a compact community with a balanced mix of activities, housing choices and commercial, institutional, recreational and industrial land uses.

Water, Waste Water and Storm Water – a community that will minimize the use and disposal of water and negative impacts on watersheds.

Transportation – a community that reduces fossil-fuel use from personal vehicle travel and provides opportunities for energy-efficient and healthy alternatives.

Natural Environment – a community that protects, enhances and restores the natural environment.

Financial Viability – a marketable community that through its design, operation, integration and financing is economically viable over the long term.

The Station Pointe project is to be the first redevelopment within the Fort Road community renewal project initiated by the City of Edmonton on former industrial lands northeast of downtown. The project developer is The Communitas Group Ltd. This project is being planned as a transit-oriented development located within walking distance of a light-rail transit station and bus terminal. It is expected to include 220 affordable and market homes in the form of townhomes, mid- and high-rise apartments, over 1,400 m2 of commercial/retail uses, a daycare centre and community facilities.

EQuilibrium™ Communities support is intended to support research and analysis aimed at design modifications to improve project performance and commissioning, monitoring and showcasing the projects. For Station Pointe, EQuilibrium™ Communities funding will focus on consultation, analysis and design. This includes consultation with approval authorities on the proposed water re-use options and alignment with the community and future residents’ needs.  Analysis and design improvements include: renewable and waste energy use at the neighbourhood scale; green financing options; and options for on-site collection, treatment and use of rainwater and waste water.

Key performance targets and planned features for the project include:

  • a 75 percent whole building energy use reduction. The project will also investigate the use of a district energy system to take advantage of treating sanitary and other waste products on site, and to facilitate the exchange of energy across different uses;
  • treating 100 percent of the waste water on site, which will then be re-used for toilet flushing and irrigation. 100 percent of the storm water is projected to be diverted from the municipal sewer, with 43 percent infiltrating on site and 57 percent being captured for re-use on site;
  • embracing design concepts for a Winter City both indoors and outdoors, including maximizing solar exposure, options for pedestrian movement through all buildings, prevailing wind protection, design for snow storage and removal, etc.;
  • the marketability and long-term viability will be enhanced as a result of the fact that Station Pointe is expected to be developed as a number of cooperatives, including both continuing, and home ownership cooperatives, as well as a second-tier cooperative, which will function as a neighbourhood association that will take responsibility for the common property and systems;
  • a green loan to cover increased capital costs of energy-saving features to be paid back through a monthly green fee equal to the operating savings realized.

The project developer,  The Communitas Group Ltd., has worked with a range of housing clients, including continuing housing cooperatives, home ownership cooperatives, mixed-tenure cooperatives, community-based land trusts, co-housing groups, non-profit companies and societies developing special purpose housing and private developers. Projects have ranged in size from three units to 118 units with costs ranging from $300,000 to $20 million. The Communitas Group Ltd. has developed projects within the Edmonton Metropolitan Area, in smaller Alberta centres such as Banff, Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House and St. Isidore, and in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and Iqaluit, Nunavut.

The Communitas Group Ltd. involves the end-user in the development process and works with groups and organizations to foster inclusive participation in the design and implementation of their projects.


Media may contact:

Richard Walker
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-996-2007

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-992-4447

Michelle Bakos
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Diane Finley
819-997-0249

Teresa Amoroso
Manager, Media Relations
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
613-748-4046
tamoroso@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media/index-eng.php.