Notes for a speech to celebrate the solar power project in Brockville.

March 22, 2013

Mayor (David) Henderson, Councillor (Dorothy) Hector

Honoured guests,

Good morning.

I am delighted to be here in Brockville, on behalf of my colleagues, the Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and the Honourable Denis Lebel, Canada’s Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, to celebrate the recent completion of significant upgrades to this facility, which will truly make a difference in the lives of Brockville residents.

This infrastructure project demonstrates perfectly what we can accomplish when different levels of government come together to help protect the environment and improve the quality of life of residents.

This project will not only reduce operating costs but will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The solar roof on this building is one of Canada’s largest municipal solar arrays, with an impressive 1066 rooftop panels. What is equally impressive is that this rooftop is expected to save an annual $200,000 in energy costs for the next 20 years.

Other retrofits include energy efficient lighting, an upgraded heating, ventilating and air conditioning unit in the community hall and the installation of a reverse–osmosis water treatment system for ice-making equipment.

These technical and environmental upgrades will improve the capacity and efficiency of the facility, which in turn, will reduce our community’s carbon footprint and the facility’s energy consumption by 30 per cent.

I am very pleased that the City of Brockville is benefitting from a combined loan and grant of $1.42 million through the Green Municipal Fund.

The Government of Canada has endowed the Federation of Canadian Municipalities with $550 million to establish and manage the Green Municipal Fund to assist municipalities across the country to achieve their goal of a cleaner and healthier environment for Canadians.

And that’s not all!

The City of Brockville will also be using $146,000 of its federal Gas Tax Fund transfer towards this green infrastructure project.

Through the federal Gas Tax Fund transfer, we are providing municipalities with long-term, stable funding for local infrastructure priorities.

In fact, in 2011, our government passed legislation to make this Fund a permanent, annual investment of $2 billion.

Between 2010 and 2014, the City of Brockville alone will receive more than $5.3 million for key infrastructure improvements that will create jobs and economic growth.

This project combines two areas that are very important to the Government of Canada – renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Our ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program is investing $1.48 billion into more than a hundred projects – from wind and solar, to tidal, to low-impact hydro and biomass.  These projects are generating nearly 4,500 megawatts[1] of renewable electricity.1

We are also a leader in promoting energy efficiency as a key part of meeting the global energy challenge.

In a recent report by the International Energy Agency, Canada showed the most improvement in energy efficiency of 17 countries tracked over 16 years.

The IEA also ranked Canada fifth out of 28 countries for its range of innovative energy efficiency initiatives.  This is something we should be very proud of.

Our government’s number one priority remains the economy: creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Investing in infrastructure is just one of the ways that we are working to achieve these goals and support your community.

And, in addition to the many benefits I’ve already mentioned, these upgrades to the Brockville Memorial Centre also created local jobs and boosted the economy here in Brockville -- great news for the people who live and work in this community.

During the global economic downturn of 2008, our government responded.  We worked together with other governments to identify local priorities, and we invested in more than 4,000 projects across Canada.

Nearly 2,000 of these projects, which were funded through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund alone, can be found right here in Ontario, representing a federal commitment of close to $1.4 billion.

All told, our government is providing the largest investment in infrastructure in Canadian history – at a time when Canadians needed it most.

Thanks to Canada’s Economic Action Plan, 950,000 more Canadians are working today than in July 2009.  That’s the strongest job growth by far among G-7 countries since the end of the recession.

We are proud of our record on job creation, and we will continue to build on our accomplishments by investing in good local projects like the ones we are celebrating today.

This project will ensure that Brockville continues to be a great place to live, work, raise a family and visit.

Thank you for having me here today to celebrate this important milestone!