October 9, 2009
RE: Accessible Built Environment Standard
As many of you are aware the Provincial Government, through the Ministry of Community and Social Services has been working towards accessible public spaces for all Ontarians.
As of July 14, 2009 the Accessible Built Environment Standard (ABES) was published for a 3 month public review period closing on October 16, 2009. Although admirable in its intent, the 272- page ABES proposed standard is severe and some of the most affected areas within the scope of this document will be paths, trails, playspaces and play equipment.
Our executive director Paul Ronan attended the public consultation session and raised some of our concerns including:
- Mandatory retrofitting for accessibility (there is some confusion in the ABES whether 50% of playspaces must be accessible, 50% of each playspace or if all playspaces must be fully accessible).
- Lack of harmonization with existing nationally and internationally accepted play standards such as CSA, ASTM, ADA, and DNA with no valid rationale or explanation, effectively creating a double standard with conflicting data.
- High cost implications reducing the number of playspaces available to all users (note: the ABES committee has requested feedback as they are concerned about a reduction in the number of playspaces should this proposed standard become law).
- Unequal committee representation with a high percentage of advocacy groups and little or no representation from the parks, open spaces or playground industry.
We encourage all OPA members to review the ABES in detail and provide comments. A copy of the ABES can be found at the following website as well as the comments form: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/accessibilityOntario/accesson/business/environment/
Please remember that comments must be submitted by Friday, October 16, 2009.
Please contact our office at 905-864-6182 or firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a detailed list of concerns that OPA will be providing to the ABES committee, the Ministry of Family Community and Social Services as well as the Minister of Social Services herself, Madelaine Meilleur.
Should you wish to provide additional comments, we will provide a template on Tuesday October 13th.
Thank you for your attention on this important matter.
October 8, 2009
Students Excel at Green Infrastructure Design
International competition selects sustainable design winner
TORONTO, ON – October 08, 2009 - Five outstanding designs that transform the face of entire city blocks using “leafy” green infrastructure have been selected to receive cash awards in the CitiesAlive International Student Design Challenge: Transforming the Face of Buildings, announced industry associations Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (www.greenroofs.org) and the World Green Roof Infrastructure Network (www.worldgreenroof.org) today.
“The Student Design Competition challenged faculty-led student teams from around the world to develop ways of productively using the walls and roofs of multiple buildings by incorporating green infrastructure elements such as green roofs, green walls, wetlands and urban forests,” said Steven Peck, President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. Each winning team developed innovative concepts and situated them within existing urban and suburban locations. The winning project teams will be awarded in Toronto on October 20, as part of the CitiesAlive: World Green Roof Infrastructure Congress being held from October 19-21, 2009. More details about this unique conference and high resolution images of the award winning projects described briefly below are available for download at www.citiesalive.org.
“Congratulations to all of the contest participants”, said Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, Co-Chair of CitiesAlive. “The have demonstrated how we can solve multiple climate change challenges using green roof and wall technology,” he added
Click here to view the complete media release.
Young landscape worker fatally struck by vehicle
EDMONTON (Canadian OH&S News)
An Alberta landscape worker has died just days short of his 19th birthday after he was struck by a vehicle as he wrapped up a job in Edmonton.
The accident happened at about 10:20 am on July 25 as the employee of Land Tec Landscaping Contractors Ltd was picking up traffic pylons behind a company truck, says Chris Chodan, a spokesman with Alberta Employment and Immigration (AEI).
Chodan reports that the truck was slowly backing up in the left of three northbound lanes, close to a median that separated north and southbound lanes. The worker was struck by a northbound vehicle and fatally crushed against the back of the landscape truck, he says, adding that the young worker would have celebrated his 19th birthday on August 1.
Karen Carlson, a spokeswoman with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS), which is investigating the accident along with AEI, says that the worker had just finished planting shrubs and trees and performing maintenance duties on the grassy median. Land Tec Landscaping Contractors undefined which provides commercial, industrial and recreational landscape site work, including work on playgrounds, golf courses, campgrounds and bridges undefined had been contracted by the City of Edmonton to perform the work, Chodan confirms.
Officials at the contracted company could not be reached for comment.
Charges against the driver of the vehicle had not been laid at COHSN press time, but “it’s safe to say they are pending,” Carlson says, noting that the northbound lanes have been closed for the duration of the collision investigation. No occupational health and safety orders have been issued to date either, Chodan adds.
The accident occurred just before Alberta Transportation announced that the number of traffic fatalities decreased about 10.5 per cent between 2007 and 2008, from 456 to 410 fatalities. However, says a statement from Alberta Transportation released on July 27, the number of traffic collisions during that same time period also increased 2.7 per cent, from 153,901 collisions to 158,055 last year. Driver error continues to be a contributing factor in 90 per cent of traffic collisions, the statement concludes.
MINISTRY OF LABOUR BLITZ - New and Young Workers
In line with the Ministry of Labour - Industrial Program approach of targeted provincial blitz, please be aware of a blitz on New and Young workers.
There are two focus groups in this blitz. The first group is the new young worker 14-24 and the second group is the new older workers >25 that has been on the job less than 6 months or reassigned to a new job.
Any new hire-permanent or temporary, including supervisors, with or without experience in the industry and any current workers who are assigned new jobs are at risk.
According to WSIB statistics the years 2003 to 2007: Young workers sustained 61,424 allowed lost time claims with workers 15-19 years of age accounting for 30% (18,130) and workers 20-24 years of age accounting for 70% (43,294).
Generally the blitz is to last for a period of one month in June 2009. Though the main focus for the blitz is on hazards associated with these services, manufacturing, logging sectors and extended workplaces. Focus areas are training and orientation, supervision, minimum age, personal protective equipment. The inspectors should also be aware of other hazards such as guarding electrical hazards, ergonomics and falls, etc. The inspectors should be insuring that Health and Safety Representatives or Joint Health and Safety Committees are in place where appropriate and that they are functioning as required.
April 17, 2009
Ontario Parks Association has been gathering information regarding the current Federal and Provincial sport and recreation infrastructure funding opportunities on behalf of its members.
PLEASE BE AWARE THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS MAY 1, 2009
and can be completed online at: http://www.bcfontario.ca/english/communities/index.html
There are two funding programs available to many communities at this time.
Building Canada Fund: Communities Component – Intake Two
In 2008, the Government of Canada announced the Building Canada Fund (BCF) with Ontario eligible to receive more than $6 billion in joint federal and provincial funding. The Communities Component of the BCF supports infrastructure projects in municipalities with a population of less than 100,000 and the first intake for this program helped to fund many sport and recreation projects.
The Government has now announced a second intake with an application deadline of May 1, 2009 and categories that could interest OPA members include:
- Recreation (new)
- Brownfield Redevelopment
View more information and apply online at: http://www.bcfontario.ca/english/communities/index.html.
Recreation Infrastructure Canada (RInC)
The 2009 Federal Budget takes direct aim at the long standing infrastructure deficit in sport and recreation with a new, dedicated, $500 million fund, to be expended in the next 2 years, to renew and build facilities in our communities. The budget highlights the need for “hockey arenas, soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, and swimming pools” as examples for upgrading, renewal and building through this nationally delivered initiative.
Three big goals drive the new fund- economic stimulus, quality facilities, and national spirit. The allocation of funds will be based on merit and readiness accordingly and in order to take full advantage of this initiative, it is important that potential applicants be ready to move quickly. Here are some key information points about the RInC program
- Renovation, retrofit and rehabilitation projects will funded through the RIC program while Building Canada will address new construction projects.
- Current information states that the program will fund up to 50% of the total eligible cost for the project, with the other portion coming from other sources (provincial, local and/or private), but in the 2009 Ontario provincial budget, a matching community infrastructure fund of $500 million was announced and it is expected that applications will be based on 1/3 cost-share (federal/provincial/municipal or other).
- This is an economic stimulus program, and job creation will be one of the main application criteria.
- Projects will have to be ‘shovel-ready’, meaning projects that do not appear in a municipality’s 2009 funded capital budget, but which could be started in 2009 with additional funding. They are often projects that rehabilitate an existing facility.
- Projects for which funds have already been allocated will not be eligible.
- All projects must be complete by March 31 of the fiscal year in which they were funded.
- Federal funding will be capped at $1 million per project.
Recommendations for OPA Members interested in applying to RInC:
- Evaluate current renovation/rehabilitation requirements and establish a priority list based on readiness to proceed and ability to complete construction in a short period of time.
- Ensure that the list of capital planning priorities is approved.
- Establish partnerships where necessary (inter-departmental or private/public as applicable).
- Contact your MP and your MPP to inform them of local priorities and garner their support.
View more information about the RInC program at http://sirc.ca/budget/2009/rinc.cfm
The OPA will continue to monitor this and other infrastructure funding programs and update members as required.
250+ PESTICIDES BANNED FOR COSMETIC USES
McGuinty Government’s Pesticide Ban Takes Effect April 22
March 4, 2009
Ontario’s cosmetic pesticides ban takes effect April 22, 2009.
The ban protects Ontario families and children from the unnecessary risks of cosmetic pesticides by only allowing the use of certain lower-risk pesticides for controlling weeds and pests in lawns and gardens.
The ban prohibits the sale and use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes on lawns, gardens, parks and school yards, and includes many herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. Over 250 products will be banned for sale and more than 80 pesticide ingredients will be banned for cosmetic uses.
There are exceptions for public health or safety reasons such as fighting West Nile Virus, killing stinging insects like wasps, or controlling poison ivy and other plants poisonous to the touch. Other exceptions include agriculture and forestry.
The ban takes the place of existing municipal pesticide bylaws, establishing one clear set of easy-to-understand rules, and providing certainty for businesses operating in different areas of the province.
Please click on the links for more information