FCM launches new peer-learning program to help communities remediate and redevelop contaminated sites (17/06/2015)
In Edmonton a former bus station was remediated and redeveloped to enable construction of two high-rise towers. LiBRe will help participating municipalities share this kind of know-how in a way that addresses environmental concerns, boosts local economies and revitalizes neighbourhoods.
Toronto, ON — Today, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) launched a new program to help municipalities better understand, navigate and reduce the barriers to brownfield redevelopment. FCM unveiled the program at the Canadian Brownfields Network's annual conference in Toronto, ON.
A brownfield is an abandoned, underused or contaminated commercial, institutional or industrial property where past activities have led to real or perceived health and safety issues. Redeveloping these sites addresses environmental concerns, boosts local economies and revitalizes neighbourhoods.
Offered through FCM's Green Municipal Fund (GMF), the Leadership in Brownfield Renewal (LiBRe) program will bring municipal practitioners together in a collaborative peer learning environment through which they will gain knowledge and skills to better facilitate brownfield redevelopment in their communities. Developed following a successful two-year pilot, the new program will help municipalities overcome common barriers to brownfield redevelopment, including risks and uncertainties associated with remediation costs, complex approval processes, potential liabilities and financing challenges.
"Almost every community in Canada is home to a brownfield, whether it's a former gas station, closed factory site or another vacant property. Through LiBRe, municipalities have great opportunities to learn, together and from each other, about how to bring these sites back to productive life and reach their sustainability goals," said Ben Henderson, chair of FCM's Green Municipal Fund and councillor for the City of Edmonton, AB.
"Through the reuse of abandoned and contaminated land we will reduce urban sprawl improving our citizens' quality of life and that is our primary goal," added Raymond Louie, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and acting mayor of the City of Vancouver, BC. Noting that the UN declared 2015 is the International Year of Soil, a reflection of the growing importance of soil protection worldwide, Louie said "the LiBRe program represents another way that FCM is helping our communities prepare to the challenges of the 21st century."
FCM invites all municipalities committed to brownfield redevelopment — from those ready to start taking action, to those with experience in revitalizing underused sites — to join LiBRe as soon as possible for activities starting in September. Members will benefit from peer learning activities, workshops and networking opportunities, as well as tailored knowledge resources that centre on a seven-step best practices framework. LiBRe membership is free of charge and open to any municipality, large or small, that pledges to: support brownfield redevelopment; make progress through the LiBRe best practices framework; and share their progress through an annual program report.
Interested municipalities may contact Stephanie Bohdanow at email@example.com or 613-907-6262. Participating communities will be announced at a later date.
The Government of Canada endowed the Federation of Canadian Municipalities with $550 million to establish the Green Municipal Fund™. The Fund supports partnerships and leveraging of both public and private-sector funding to reach higher standards of air, water and soil quality, and climate protection.
FCM has been the national voice of municipal governments since 1901. It fosters the development of sustainable communities to improve quality of life by promoting strong, effective, and accountable municipal government.