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Enabling redevelopment of brownfields in Canada

Banner with “Annual Report 2016–2017” on green background at the top. In a triangular shape on the left-hand side: architectural drawing of a building in white against a blue background. Title of page: Brownfields.

Orange and black illustration of buildings, open lots and trees.

FCM demystifies brownfield redevelopment

Through the Green Municipal Fund (GMF), FCM increases the capacity of municipalities to remediate and redevelop brownfields (former industrial or commercial sites with perceived or real contamination) through knowledge sharing, training and funding — including grants for plans, feasibility studies and pilot projects, as well as loans for capital projects. In the case studies below, we explore the expected environmental impacts that two cities hope to achieve, and touch base with two members of our Leadership in Brownfield Renewal (LiBRe) program. Most importantly, we learn how FCM demystifies brownfield redevelopment.

Revitalizing brownfields helps generate revenue, save energy and reduce GHG emissions

Case studies

City of Oakville's approach to brownfields

  • Two dirty shovels, on top of dirt.

Population187,000
Total project value$73,000
GMF grant$36,500

To accommodate expected growth — 12,000 new residents by 2031 — the City of Oakville, ON, recognizes that it must consider the remediation and redevelopment of its brownfield sites.

The Comprehensive Brownfield Management Project (CBMP) supports this goal and aligns with all of the municipality's existing plans, as well as its sustainable community 2057 vision.

The CBMP addresses the management of publicly owned contaminated sites, along with the processes used to review proposals to develop contaminated sites on both public and private lands.

In addition, the CBMP will identify brownfield sites requiring assessment, along with impediments to their sustainable redevelopment. This work will inform the design of appropriate incentive programs. Oakville will also conduct extensive consultations, including a series of sessions to engage the public and stakeholders.

The municipality is one of 30 participants in FCM's Leadership in Brownfield Renewal (LiBRe) peer-learning program.

City of Moncton's new downtown centre

  • Artist rendering of Moncton Centre. Credit: City of Moncton, NB.
  • Artist rendering of Moncton Centre at night. Credit: City of Moncton, NB.
  • Aerial artist rendering of Moncton Centre. Credit: City of Moncton, NB.

Population69,000
Total project value$100.5 million
GMF loan$20 million

The City of Moncton, NB, will revitalize its downtown core with a project that involves remediating a brownfield site and building an energy-efficient sports and entertainment complex. The project will generate valuable information for municipalities across Canada.

Originally occupied by Canadian National Railway, the 11-acre site was later redeveloped into a shopping mall that closed in 2012. Soil tests revealed the presence of contaminants. After completing a risk assessment and remedial action plan, Moncton capped two areas and installed a vapour-mitigation system underneath the new building.

Projected performance:

  • Decrease in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 50 per cent
  • Be 46 per cent more energy-efficient than 2011 National Energy Code for Buildings
  • Reduce water use by 30 to 34 per cent
  • Generate more than $12 million in annual revenues

Building features:

  • LEDs reduce lighting-power density
  • Heat recovery from the ice rink
  • Specialized HVAC systems



Leadership in Brownfield Renewal (LiBRe) program

Following a two-year pilot, LiBRe became an ongoing FCM program in June 2015. Since then, 30 municipalities have worked together to tackle the difficult challenges associated with brownfields. Along the way, the participants have helped generate a wealth of resources — such as case studies, guidebooks and webinars — that continue to benefit municipalities across Canada.

Headshot of Greg Atkinson, Senior Planner in Windsor ON. Credit: Greg Atkinson.

“Participation in the LiBRe program has saved many hours of individual research and potential missteps for the City of Windsor. In-person training and networking has improved the quality of Windsor's brownfield program.”

Greg Atkinson
Senior Planner
City of Windsor, ON

Headshot of Karen St. Martin, Chief Administration Officer, Mayerthorpe, AB. Credit: Karen St. Martin.

“With these essential tools, the Town of Mayerthorpe is able to work towards improving the environment, creating new opportunities for redevelopment and achieving compliance with fiscal policies.”

Karen St. Martin
Chief Administrative Officer
Town of Mayerthorpe, AB

Page Updated: 07/09/2017