September 14, 2020

FCM’s Sustainable Communities Awards celebrate the most innovative environmental initiatives in Canadian cities and communities of all sizes. Through these awards, FCM recognizes and celebrates sustainability leaders and trailblazers in municipalities across Canada.

The awards, delivered by FCM's Green Municipal Fund (GMF), showcase outstanding municipal projects in asset management, brownfields, climate change, energy, transportation, waste, water, and sustainable neighbourhood revitalization and design.

The 2020 Sustainable Community Award winners

Asset Management: City of Vernon, BC 

City of Vernon Drainage Infrastructure Prioritization Plan

Using a triple-bottom-line approach to identify environmental, economic and social impacts, the City of Vernon completed a detailed assessment of their drainage infrastructure to identify stormwater drains needing maintenance or replacement to protect the City from future flooding. The City applied a climate vulnerability lens to understand the impacts of climate change on their drainage assets and created a prioritized list of projects from those at greatest risk.

Brownfields: City of Montreal, QC 

Rehabilitation of the Pointe-Saint-Charles industrial park (PEPSC)

Working in partnership with joint owners of this former landfill site, the City of Montreal developed an innovative approach to collect and treat contaminants at Pointe-Saint-Charles industrial park that were migrating into the Saint Lawrence River. Their work on this brownfield project helps address a long-standing environmental issue and remediates a waterfront area for future use by the community.

Climate Change: City of Campbell River, BC 

Campbell River Rising Seas

The City of Campbell River’s recently adopted Sea Level Rise Action Plan puts in motion a series of interventions to protect the community and the surrounding ecosystems from the impacts of rising sea levels. The City worked extensively with the community to create a plan that prioritizes protection of the shoreline, community infrastructure and other assets, and emphasizes building capacity through education.

Energy: Town of Raymond, AB 

Raymond Electrical Net Zero

To reduce their GHG emissions and save costs, the Town of Raymond installed a series of solar PV systems on their municipal buildings, including their town hall, aquatic centre, fire hall, arena and more. The solar arrays will save nearly 700 tonnes of CO2 per year and generate over 1300 MWh of renewable electricity annually, meeting 100% of the electricity needs of the Town’s operations.

Neighbourhoods: City of Edmonton, AB 

Blatchford  

The City of Edmonton is developing a sustainable community on former municipal airport land that will house up to 30,000 residents. The new neighbourhood's vision is to be carbon neutral and use 100% renewable energy. Homes use renewable energy provided through a geoexchange district energy sharing system, while also supporting low-impact development and low-carbon transit.      

Transportation – co-winners: Region of Waterloo, ON and Town of Cochrane, AB

Region of Waterloo, ON 

Growing Up: The Story of ION Light Rail in Waterloo Region

In 2019, the Region of Waterloo’s new ION Light Rail Transit system opened its doors to the public, with over 300,000 passengers using the system in its first 11 days. The ION system provides fast, reliable travel between three urban centres and contributes substantially to the Region’s environmental and community goals, including reducing GHG emissions and urban sprawl.

Town of Cochrane, AB 

Cochrane On-demand Local Transit

The Town of Cochrane’s on-demand local transit program (COLT) provides stop-to-stop transit service for community members, while addressing issues like affordability, inclusion and accessibility. The new program expands easy access to transit stops to over 90% of the Town’s population and has seen significant uptake since its launch in 2019.

Waste: Town of Canmore, AB 

Canmore Food Waste Collection Pilot

Faced with unique challenges that prevent the use of standard green bins, the Town of Canmore undertook a creative and collaborative approach to neighbourhood composting that diverts more than 800 kg of food waste per day from the landfill. The Town worked with local residents, artists, and neighbouring communities to design new food waste bins through a program that engages residents, reduces GHG emissions and saves on costs.

Water: Corporation of Loyalist Township, ON  

Amherstview Water Pollution Control Plant Constructed Wetland

Loyalist Township created a constructed wetland to lower the pH of their wastewater disinfection lagoons, helping to treat wastewater with natural biological processes and the use of native vegetation. The constructed wetland is a cost-effective alternative to UV disinfection and allows residents access to an additional green space in the community.

Visionary Award: Regional Districts of Central Kootenay, East Kootenay, and Kootenay Boundary, BC  

Accelerate Kootenays

The Accelerate Kootenays project creates a network of more than 50 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in small communities in the Kootenays region of BC. The result of widespread collaboration between community members, three regional governments and their partners, Accelerate Kootenays provides rural access to EV infrastructure, reduces GHG emissions, supports community engagement and education, and benefits local businesses and tourism.

Honourable mentions

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and nine partner municipalities including:

City of Toronto, Regional Municipality of Peel, City of Brampton, City of Mississauga, Town of Caledon, Regional Municipality of York, City of Richmond Hill, City of Markham and City of Vaughan 

Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Program

The Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Program (SNAP) is a neighbourhood model that helps municipalities retrofit older neighbourhoods and build community support and partnerships. Since its inception, the model has been adopted by multiple communities in Ontario and beyond, and focuses on solutions tailored to the local context for home retrofits, infrastructure renewal, neighbourhood revitalization and community resilience.

Town of Paradise, NL 

Octagon Pond Brownfield Redevelopment Project

Through its ongoing work on brownfields redevelopment, the Town of Paradise has remediated and transformed multiple former industrial lands into recreational facilities, conservation areas and commercial and residential properties. The remediation work done by the Town supports its economic and community goals, while addressing a significant environmental issue.

Attend the virtual 2020 Sustainable Communities Conference  

Each award winner will present a TED-style talk on their project at the 2020 Sustainable Communities Conference, held virtually from October 20–22, 2020.

Winners in each category are also eligible for the Inspire Award, given to the project that best demonstrates creativity and innovation. Attend the conference, watch the presentations and vote for your favourite project.

Learn more about the virtual Sustainable Communities Conference

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The Green Municipal Fund is a $1 billion program, delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and funded by the Government of Canada.

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