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Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia

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Dedicated to Infrastructure Advancement

 

Nova Scotia

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The province of Nova Scotia in Canada is in the process of undertaking various projects to improve its infrastructure in order to facilitate development. Halifax, the provincial capital of the area is ensuring that the region is not only developing infrastructure but is also experiencing economic growth whilst remaining sustainable. Over the recent years, the government of Nova Scotia has been involved in completing 29 buildings comprising of schools, community collages, courthouses and other governmental buildings. Building sections of highways and preservation plans are also underway and gradually moving the region towards further advancement.

The new Convention Centre

One of the biggest projects under construction is The New Halifax Convention Centre. This modern, state-of-the art center was realized through a partnership agreement between the local, municipal government and the central provincial government in Canada. The facility which is 120,000 square feet in size is meant to replace the older center in order to accommodate larger conferences. It also equipped with an adjoining hotel and office spaces. The newConventionCentre can also be sub-divided into smaller sections to accommodate various conference sizes. Other key features of the center include a 50,000 square feet multipurpose room, 35,000 square feet ball room and flexible meeting rooms.

John O’Connor, the Executive Director of Public Works Division Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal explains, “The aim is to build on the current popular reputation of the conference centerto attract large conferences and get a bigger share of that part of the market. Larger conferences would also mean more people are coming and being exposed to Nova Scotia therefore bringing economic development.” This advantage is further enhanced by the location of Halifax on the Atlantic Coast, opening up the area to markets it was unable to attract earlier.

The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has also been following the LEED standard during the implementation and design stages of construction in Nova Scotia. Such considerations has helped the department reduce costs by making the building more environmental friendly and energy efficient. As John points out, “We one of the leaders in getting the right certifications for our new buildings.”

Environmental initiative

Another admirable project carried out by Nova Scotia is the biggest industrial cleanup in Canadian history of the Sydney tar ponds. This integrated operation is dedicated to the clean-up of extremely contaminated areas, taking up to five to six years to complete. Paul Lefleche, Deputy Minister of the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal says, “We kept this project in place and managed to stabilize all contaminations. We also put in monitoring measures while placing a series of parks in the inner cities of Nova Scotia. This has been an important project for Canada in terms of the technology, development and methods used.”

However, there were challenges which came along as community consultation was needed to move forward because of the enormity of the project. In order to get input from the community, the clean-up was in the pipelines for about a decade as different interest and environmental groups disagreed and conducted protest. It also meant that the cost of the project kept increasing. Paul goes on to add, “The groups could not agree on a common future, but fortunately the government finally made a decision and today we can see the results of the project in the form of Open Hearth Park.”

Preservation projects

Besides environmental initiatives, Nova Scotia has also been dedicating its efforts towards roadside innovation. Inclusive of the 5- Year Highway Improvement plan for 2013-2014, Nova Scotia has been working on opening new highways across the province. The region also has a startling 400 bridges out of which 200 bridges are estimated to be hundred years old. Keeping the life of the bridges in mind, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal have taken measures to replace these bridges which can no longer bear the weight of the current traffic. Bruce Fitzner, Chief Highway Engineer further adds, “Other projects are also underway, such as the pavement preservation where we treat the road before they reach the end of their life. This preventative method helps save money.”

Another reason as to why the department has dedicated a large sum of their money towards preservation and renovation is because it facilitates economic development. An example of this can be seen in the pavement preservation of the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, a popular tourist destination. The trail is being upgraded to accommodate the large number of tourists and cyclists who visit the area and therefore supporting the tourist economy.

Facing challenges

Over the course of these projects, the department had faced trials in the form of high bidding prices due to the lack of competition. Bruce says, “To tackle this particular issue pavement preservation started to support in-house production allowing for alternative options when the bidding prices were too high. The replacement of the bridges was alsochallenging as it directly affected the safety of the people.” Nova Scotia also experiences extreme cold weather therefore reducing the construction season.

These difficulties however have not held Nova Scotia back in trying to find alternatives and supporting other infrastructure projects which are innovative in nature. Two such projects include the installation of LED lights on provincial highways and innovative weighing stations for the trucking industry which saves time and money. Bruce concludes, “We wish to promote the economy of Nova Scotia and put in place measures which will save time and money and at the same time have a sustainability focus. We want build for a brighter future.”

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