Aerial view of The Blue Mountains Town Hall

The Town of The Blue Mountains, ON built an energy-efficient community hall on the site of a former service station.

Contaminated earth at the site was trucked away for cleaning, which solved an ongoing problem of pollutants seeping into the nearby river. Built to achieve LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification, the building has energy-efficient features like superior insulation, small, strategically located hot water heaters, and a ground-source heat pump. Other green features include rainwater capture and use, sustainable choice of materials, and superior indoor air quality.

The new town hall opened in May 2011 on the decontaminated site and has quickly become a community hub.

Results

Environmental Economic Social
  • Building uses 62 per cent less energy than a standard structure

  • Rainwater capture reduces water use by 65 per cent

  • Brownfield cleanup removed contaminants

  • Town saves on operating costs thanks to reduced energy and potable water use

  • Central, walkable gathering place helps tie the community together

  • Town hall serves as a model of sustainability development

Challenges

  • The discovery of far more contamination at the service station site than expected
  • Overcoming the skepticism of permanent residents about whether such a project was affordable
  • Reaching out to a community with a large number of temporary residents, like cottagers and skiers

Lessons learned

  • Provide political leaders with complete, accurate information to give them the chance to champion the project.
  • Engage the public from an early stage and keep them informed throughout.
  • Get creative with communications, like using known gathering places to get your messages out.

Resources

Partners and Collaborators

Project Contact

David Finbow
Director, Planning and Building Services
Town of The Blue Mountains, ON
T. 519 599-3131

2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities