Thursday, June 16, 2011

Protecting the Environment and Conserving Natural Resources

The City of Calgary takes our responsibility to protect the environment and conserve natural resources very seriously.

This was evident recently when the contractor on a City project came across an active robin’s nest near the top of a scaffolding unit during the construction of the 96 Avenue N.E. extension west of Deerfoot Trail.

The general contractor, Aecon Construction Management, stopped work immediately around the nest area and informed Travis Gaede, The City’s Project Manager. Gaede then engaged a biologist from a project sub-consultant, AMEC Earth & Environmental, who confirmed the species of bird and contacted Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (ASRD).
The project team got direction from ASRD to protect the integrity of the nest at this crucial time of development for the three young chicks. The young birds will need a minimum of 2 - 3 weeks before they can leave the nest on their own.

“I was pleased and impressed by the quick action by Aecon’s employees to identify and report the nest, and then to follow the direction provided by ASRD,” said Gaede. “This is an excellent example of how project teams can effectively implement The City’s policy regarding compliance with applicable environmental legislation.”

Gaede said Aecon is restricting construction work around the nest area and is considering bringing in replacement scaffolding so they don’t disturb the development of the young birds. He said work is continuing on the project overall and The City is working with Aecon on a new schedule to ensure the nest is protected while work continues and critical deadlines are met.

“The City of Calgary is registered to an international standard for our environmental management system, which governs how we plan and execute construction projects like this one,” said Ethan Askey, Environmental Specialist with The City’s Transportation Infrastructure business unit. “Not disturbing this active bird nest is an example of how we walk our talk, and what protocols we have in place with our contractors for environmental protection.”

When finished, this project will result in a six-lane extension of 96 Avenue N.E. from Harvest Hills Link to Deerfoot Trail, three new bridge structures (one over the CP Rail tracks and two over Nose Creek), improvements to the Airport Trail / Deerfoot Trail interchange, and construction of a regional pathway from the Harvest Hills community east and across Deerfoot Trail. Anticipated completion of the entire project is 2012.

Post submitted by Transportation Infrastructure Communications Strategist, Conrad Hild.

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