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Peer reviews identify pitfalls and improvements

Banner with “Annual Report 2016–2017” on green background at the top. In a triangular shape on the left, bottom: hand with pen, writing on paper. Title of page: GMF reviews improve projects.

Three-tier illustration, with arrows pointing from a factory and buildings, to three stacks of papers to windmills, to buildings and trees.

Independent analysis central to FCM's peer review process

FCM's peer review process determines which plans, feasibility studies, and pilot and capital projects to fund. This thorough analysis helps in assessing the likelihood of the proposed project's success and the strength of the business case. It also often identifies potential project improvements.

2016-2017 saw FCM’s peer review process continue to contribute to the successes of municipal initiatives

Case study

FCM review supports Lac-Megantic's rebuild after rail disaster

  • Construction crew tearing up a street, with trucks and excavators in Lac-Megantic, QC. Credit: Lac-Megantic, QC.
  • Construction crew tearing up a street, with trucks and excavators in Lac-Megantic, QC. Credit: Lac-Megantic, QC.
  • Construction crew tearing up a street, with trucks and excavators in Lac-Megantic, QC. Credit: Lac-Megantic, QC.

Population6,000
Total value of projects$8.1 million
GMF grants$682,500

Two pilot projects are part of the City of Lac-Mégantic's effort to rebuild the downtown area destroyed in the 2013 rail disaster. FCM's review processes led to improvements in both projects.

The first project involves evaluating a method to improve drainage from a new parking lot. Water will flow through rain gardens and grassed swales to reduce hydrological impacts. The second project aims to promote active transportation, and to measure the impacts of incorporating pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths into a redevelopment project downtown.

Initial FCM reviews identified potential improvements in how the city could monitor project outcomes. Lac-Mégantic incorporated the improvements into its final applications. The city also implemented a further improvement — extending the monitoring period — suggested by FCM's independent peer reviewers.

"I have no doubt that the two pilot projects — and residents of Lac-Mégantic — will benefit from the suggestions," says France Bergeron, Project Manager with Lac-Mégantic.

Headshot of Tony Kosteltz, a GMF peer reviewer. Credit: Tony Kosteltz.

“GMF's peer review process helps to ensure that projects can realize their full potential to deliver environmental, economic and social benefits. As municipalities make more and more progress on sustainability, the peer review process also helps to raise the bar by identifying potential improvements in proposed projects.”

Tony Kosteltz, P.Eng.
GMF Peer Reviewer

Steps to receive funding

Municipalities applying for GMF funding follow one of two processes, depending on the type of initiative they are seeking to fund.

To apply for grants of up to 50 per cent of the cost of a plan, study or test, there are three stages:

  1. Initial review
    An initial review by GMF staff verifies that the application includes all necessary information and qualifies for funding. To improve proposed projects, staff often also share resources, such as case studies, and connect applicants with other municipalities.

  2. Peer review
    Eligible projects are sent to independent peer reviewers, who arrive at a score and identify strengths, weaknesses and potential improvements. They also identify potential economic, social and environmental benefits, and whether the project can be replicated and is likely to generate lessons learned or other information of use to other municipalities.

  3. GMF Council decision
    GMF staff present all reviewed projects, along with peer reviewer scores and comments, to the GMF Council and FCM Board for final decisions.




To apply for a combined loan and grant worth up to 50 per cent of a capital project (energy, waste, transportation, wastewater), there are four stages:

  1. Initial review
    An initial review by GMF staff verifies that the application includes all necessary information and qualifies for funding. To improve proposed projects, staff often also share resources, such as case studies, and connect applicants with other municipalities.

  2. Final application
    The municipality submits its final application. Each year, GMF conducts two competitions for capital funding.

  3. Peer review
    Eligible projects are sent to independent peer reviewers, who rank projects based on score, and help to identify strengths, weaknesses and potential improvements. They also identify potential economic, social and environmental benefits, and whether the project can be replicated and is likely to generate lessons learned or other information of use to other municipalities.

  4. GMF Council decision
    GMF staff present all reviewed projects, along with peer reviewer evaluations and rankings, to the GMF Council and FCM Board for final decisions. Available funding is a key factor in funding decisions.



Related links

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Page Updated: 08/09/2017