April 2011

Message from the Executive Director


Welcome to Alberta in April!  Spring is foremost on our minds, and it looks like it might actually happen soon!

There are a few things that spring brings that I would like to draw your attention to.

Spring is turnaround season for many of our members. A maintenance turnaround is when specific pieces of equipment or sections of an industrial plant are shut down for routine service and are restarted after maintenance is complete. Depending on the size and complexity of these maintenance turnarounds, they can be short in duration (one week) or long (up to eight to 10 weeks) and usually involve an influx of contract workers to the site. Residents in the area can expect to see a bit more traffic on the highways during the turnaround season.

NCIA will be participating as one of the Life In The Heartland partner organizations at the Fort Saskatchewan Trade Show (Friday April 29th to Sunday May 1st, 2011).  We will be at booth #163 & 164 located in the Agrium Soccer Field in the Dow Centennial Centre. Hope to see you there!!!




History of Industry in the Region: Did you know?

In 1969, Imperial Oil completed construction of the largest integrated fertilizer complex in Canada, near Redwater.  This facility is now owned by Agrium.


Spring and summer weather affects air quality too

Air pollutants come from many sources: industrial facilities, automobiles and residential sources. The weather also has an impact on air quality because it can affect the rate at which pollutants are dispersed. The monitoring network generates detailed data on two primary pollutants that make up smog: ozone and particulate matter. In spring and summer, higher levels of these pollutants can lead to ‘Fair’ or ‘Poor’ Air Quality Index (AQI) measurements at FAP stations from time to time.

Ozone is not emitted directly, but is formed when oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds react with oxygen in the presence of heat and/or sunlight. In Alberta, daily and monthly average ozone concentrations tend to be highest in spring. Hourly average ozone concentrations tend to peak in summer, during late afternoons on hot days with calm winds. To better understand ozone formation, Fort Air Partnership and neighbouring airsheds commissioned an ozone network assessment for the Capital Region. The report recommended additional monitoring upwind and downwind of Edmonton, so three continuous ozone, NOx and wind monitoring sites have been set up around the Edmonton metropolitan area. Evaluation of Regional Ozone Monitoring Network and Analysis of Data to Determine Trends is posted at Ozone and Particulate Matter: A Management Study

Particulate matter levels can be higher in summer from smoke due to forest fires. Last summer, the region experienced high PM2.5 levels due to smoke from the Opal fire in May and transported smoke from fires in British Columbia in August. The severe smoke event in August drove many AQI readings into the ‘Very Poor’ range where health can be affected.

When ozone and particulate matter levels exceed air quality standards, some people will experience eye, nose and throat irritation that can result in wheezing, coughing and chest discomfort. The data collected by our monitoring stations makes it possible for health authorities and others to issue air quality advisories if needed.

Cold weather affects ozone and particulate matter levels differently. This topic will be covered in our next feature in the fall!

To learn more about air in the Heartland region, please visit the Fort Air Partnership.


Cumulative Environmental Management not a new concept for Industry


Industry in the Heartland have been operating under the mindset of cumulative environmental impacts for many years now, not just since 2007 when the Government of Alberta announced that the province is moving towards a cumulative environment management approach.

“We consider ourselves ahead of the game,” commented Laurie Danielson, Executive Director of the NCIA. “Many of our member companies deployed best practices that considered their individual operation in the context of regional impacts as they recognized that these measures would not only benefit the environment, but also improve the efficiency of their operations.”

A few examples include:

“As we continue working with the provincial government and other key stakeholders on the numerous environmental frameworks that will guide this region, we are confident that Industry in the Heartland will continue to be a leader in demonstrating forward-thinking, yet reasonable and practical strategies that will meet potential new regulatory requirements once these frameworks are completed.”


NCIA celebrates 30 years serving communities in Alberta's Industrial Heartland

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) working with industry and community members in Alberta's Industrial Heartland. In 1981, the association began as a non-profit organization called the Fort Saskatchewan Regional Industrial Association (FSRIA), whose aim was to encourage economic stability and commercial growth in Fort Saskatchewan.  At that time, FSRIA had only six members. Since then, the association has built that membership base to now include 25 industrial partners spanning four municipalities.

From those humble beginnings as the FSRIA through to its transformation into the NCIA in 2001, the association has built a legacy as a respectful champion of collaboration between industry, government and the community in support of sustainable industrial growth and the reduction of associated environmental impacts. Over the course of its existence, NCIA has developed a number of progressive strategies for addressing issues related to industrial development and activity—including those pertaining to water, air, land use, safety and noise. For 50 years, community residents in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland have co-existed with industry, and NCIA will remain committed in helping industry and community members to reach shared aims and find areas of consensus in support of their co-existence into the future.  

Some of the association’s most prominent milestones over the past 30 years are highlighted below.




The Fort Saskatchewan Regional Industrial Association (FSRIA) was formed as a non-profit organization to foster economic stability and encourage commercial growth within the Fort Saskatchewan area—a recognized industrial center in Alberta.  FSRIA started with 6 members, and today has grown to 25 members in four municipalities.


Working with the Provincial Government on Industrial Property Taxation, FSRIA successfully demonstrated that the application of education taxes on top of the Machinery & Equipment taxes was not competitive with other jurisdictions in Canada.  As a result of this work, and a commitment on the part of industry to invest an additional $20 billion in new plants, the government agreed to phase out education taxes from the Machinery & Equipment taxes paid by industry beginning in 1996 over a five-year period.  As the industrial investment commitment was achieved in 1997, education taxes were eliminated from the Machinery and Equipment taxes paid by industry in the 1998 tax year.  The reduction in education taxes paid by industry was more than offset by increased taxes paid from the increased investment in the province.


Northeast Region Community Awareness and Emergency Response (formerly a subcommittee of FSRIA) was formed as a non-profit organization to continuously strengthen an integrated emergency response capability in the region and to develop a cooperative community awareness program.


The FSRIA Business and Economics Committee advanced the concept of a collaborative approach to industrial growth between industry and the four host municipalities.   This resulted in the formal launch of Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association in 1998.


In the late 1990's, a few industrial members provided some ‘seed’ monies to get Fort Air Partnership (FAP) launched.  In 2000, all members of the industrial association provided ongoing support to the Fort Air Partnership.


The Fort Saskatchewan Regional Industrial Association changed to the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA), a non-profit co-operative that seeks to understand, and reduce the environmental impacts of member industries through collaborative efforts with the community and all levels of government to support sustainable industrial growth.


Partnered with the Northeast Community Awareness and Emergency Response group to launch a new Community Notification System, the first of its kind in Canada, featuring an UPDATEline and a Call-Out system.


The Northeast Capital Industrial Association celebrates 30 years in your community.