It’s a wrap for RemTech East 2023, which took place this week at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario. This year, the Environmental Services Association of Alberta (ESAA) presented the Remediation Technologies Symposium (RemTech) East in conjunction with the Ontario Environment Industry Association (ONEIA) on May 30 to June 1, 2023. Environment Journal was a proud media partner of this event.

The event organizers have selected this location for RemTech East that showcases the “beauty and wonder” of Canada’s rich environmental landscapes, in the same way the Alberta Rockies showcase that with the original RemTech held annually in Banff.

RemTech East provides a unique opportunity for industry, practitioners, researchers and regulators to join and evaluate technical solutions for environmental issues, especially as they relate to remediation and reclamation.

The comprehensive program featured over 40 technical talks focused on remediation projects related to eastern Canada including brownfields, industrial sites, mining, government projects, and more. The program included some incredible keynote presentations and panel sessions that led to several conversations about the state of environmental innovation and emerging partnerships in Ontario and across Canada.

New to the RemTech program this year was an Ontario Update Session featuring policy staff from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). The panel session kicked off with some breaking news about Service Ontario’s current online platform for Records of Site Conditions (RSC), which will no longer be available as of today (June 2).

Environmental Specialist Sridhar Sangaraji explained that a new platform is being developed that will provide an enhanced user experience, including increased transparency and enabling larger file sizes. (Any questions should be directed to this email address: enviropermissions@ontario.ca)

“The quality of application submissions has a direct impact on the time it takes for the ministry to undertake a review,” said Michelle Zehr, manager of ecological standards at MECP.

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Adam Leus, manager of Brownfields at MECP, explained that when it comes to brownfields submissions in Ontario, the environment ministry is providing greater certainty on timelines, closer relations with stakeholders and more focus on high-risk RSCs.

The new Excess Soil planning requirements are now in effect in certain circumstances, in project areas with enhanced investigation (i.e., gas stations), involving remediation projects, and in projects generating more than 2,000 m3 or more in soil, advised Chris Lompart, manager of Land Use Policy at MECP.

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MECP representatives from left to right: Michelle Zehr, Adam Leus, Sridhar Sangaraji, Chris Lompart and in the back, moderator Grant Walsom of XCG Consulting.

The much-anticipated keynote presentation by Matt Jamieson, president and CEO of Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC) left the full ballroom with new information and inspiration about the potential for Indigenous impact in the clean economy.

Jamieson is a member of the largest First Nation in Canada. After acknowledging the difficult history of Indigenous-Settler relations in Canada, Jamieson discussed the “paradigm shift” happening in Canada that involved Indigenous partnership and ownership, with a view to building successful economic conditions for the next seven generations.

And more building is certainly needed; Jamieson cited an estimated $1.6 billion infrastructure gap for First Nations communities across Canada, including integral housing, water, schools, roads and bridges.

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Keynote Speaker Matt Jamieson highlights some of SNGRDC’s most exciting partnerships so far, including: the $750 million Six Nations joint venture for a large-scale lithium storage project in partnership with NRStor, Northland Power, Aecon and Tesla announced in February 2023 and the Aecon-Six Nations(A6N) joint venture on track to become a $100 million per year business within five years. “They haven’t done it for us; they’ve done it with us,” said Jamieson. “And I’m really excited about where this is going to go.

Sure, there are persisting economic development barriers, such as fear of the unknown, overcoming distrust, the antiquated Indian Act, a lack of knowledge and experience, risk and access to capital, and predators, such as disingenuous proponents, consultants and advisors.

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But Jamieson is confident that with his business background, along with his board, he can overcome these barriers and generate a successful future for the Six Nations and their partners. He’s already proven this is possible. As a founding CEO of SNGRDC, he has already led the corporate to closing 12 commercial transactions, accomplishing $70 million in equity placements, forming 19 partnerships, participating in $2.58 in project TIC, and partner to produce almost 1 GW of renewable energy.

How does one enable successful and sustainable development in Canada with First Nations? “Build a relationship with the community first and do things together to shape the outcome,” advises Jamieson. The keynote presentation was sponsored by Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP.

 

Keynote Speaker Matt Jamieson in conversation with Master of Ceremonies Fred Keating.

At the end of the keynote and compelling Q & A with MC Fred Keating, Jamieson was presented with one of Keating’s wonderful poems:

 

From the shores of Gitchee-Goomee
To the mighty inland seas,
Six Nations rise together and
prosper as they please.
S-N-G-R-D-C, a font of information
Corporate governance in word and deed
This development corporation
Who guides the group through thick and thin?
Success the destination
When things are tough and looking rough
It’s a Matt Jamieson situation!

Keynote presentations were also provided by Brian Keating of Going Wild TV, Tovah Barocas, president of Earth Rangers and Yvonne Camus, an Eco Challenge Adventure Racer.

The exhibit floor featured several networking opportunities and almost 40 exhibitors.

Left: Brenden Stephen of ECO Canada with Connie Vitello of Environment Journal. Right: Andy Lombardi and Hrushikesh Joshi of Continental Carbon Group with Corinne Lynds of Actual Media Inc.

Left: Joe Chowaniec of ESAA and Lorrine Hamdon of TL2. Right: Corinne Lynds of Actual Media with Samson Walsom and Quinn Pinder of Milestone Environmental Contracting.

There was also an opportunity to engage with PFAS experts from SGS North America Inc. for live questions on LinkedIn. The focus was on effective strategies to manage and mitigate PFAS contamination. Sarah De Luca, SGS’s vice president of sales & marketing hosted Bharat Chandramouli, senior scientist of emerging contaminants and a product director, North America to answer several questions on the state of assessment and emerging guidelines.

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The event also featured lively receptions at the Table Rock Restaurant, with its scenic views of the Falls and excellent selection of local fare, an opportunity to Journey Behind the Falls, and a live music performance from the Sandy Vine Duo. Sponsors included QM Environmental, AGAT Laboratories, and ecis. Trace Associates was the platinum sponsor for the entire event.

Environment Journal will be publishing several of the case studies and expert perspectives presented at RemTech East over the coming months.

The next RemTech will be held on October 11 – 13 at the Fairmont Banff Springs. For further information, click here.

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