Fisher Environmental has teamed up with Terra Firma Environmental Services Ltd for environmental and geotechnical drilling.
Take a look at their new website:
Friday, March 17, 2017
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
|Contaminated Site, Toronto|
Brightfields are environmentally contaminated properties that are used for clean energy production, usually solar or wind. Solar or wind production can be an ideal long-term use for sites that are highly contaminated and may require many years to clean-up or remediate.
Recent and rapid advancements in clean energy technologies are what make this convergence possible
|City Solar Project, Chicago|
Most Canadian banks will finance costs related to establishing qualified Clean Energy projects, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund will consider additional financing related to characterizing and remediating the property.
Several companies like ArcStar Energy based in Toronto will finance, design, build and manage large-scale green energy projects for both Greenfield and Brownfield sites. With a multinational coverage ArcStar looks for sites that suitable for utility and large scale industrial power delivery, and for sites that are eligible for green energy incentives, such as Ontario’s Feed In Tariff or ‘FIT’ program.
The percentage of Brownfields sites that are suitable for renewable energy projects is quite small. However the large number of Brownfields in North America, over 1,000,000 by some estimates, means that there are likely 10,000 - 20,000 sites that are ideal candidates for a Brightfield devlopment.
Ontario Power Authority
Federation of Canadian Municipalities
Posted by Gordon Onley - The Small Business Finance Help at 10:55 AM
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Fisher Environmental is excited to announce the launch of their newly designed Website at: www.fisherenvironmental.com
|Fisher Environmental - home page|
The site welcomes visitors with bold colours and a clean easy-to-read layout. Full of topical content and videos, our aim is to share our knowledge and expertise on environmental due diligence and how environmental issues impact real estate.
The new site is divided into relevant sections including:
- Environmental Site Assessments - the industry's most recognized due diligence report.
- Indoor Air Quality - a growing human health concern.
- Site Remediation - dealing with environmentally contaminated properties.
- News Releases - topical articles from a variety of national publications.
- Social Media - links to Associations and Fisher's other sites: Fisher Labs and Fisher Drilling.
The Website will be updated on a regular basis with new content.
Posted by Gordon Onley - The Small Business Finance Help at 12:40 PM
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Property development is a risky business. However those risks increase considerably when redeveloping a "Brownfield" site. Beyond dealing with on-site remediation costs, if pollutants have migrated to a neighbouring property, there is the potential for costly regulatory clean-up orders and civil lawsuits.
Not surprisingly off-site liability concerns are often a significant stumbling block to Brownfield redeveloped. After all what developer would purchase a property with known clean-up costs on-site, but unknown off-site liabilities?
However two recent court rulings in Ontario cases involving off-site contamination, resulted in decisions going against the innocent property owners, whose sites were contaminated by the activities occurring on nearby sites. While it is unlikely that these cases will result in more Brownfields being redeveloped in the province they have caught the attention of many in the industry.
1. In October 2011 the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned an earlier decision by the Ontario Superior Court in Smith vs Inco Limited, which had awarded $36,000,000 in damages to 7000 property owners in Port Colborne, Ontario, due to soil contamination caused by nickel particles emitted from Inco’s refinery. (see my blog post from October 18, 2011)
|Kawartha Lakes, Ontario|
2. In June 2012 the Ontario Divisional Court upheld a Ministry of Environment (MOE) order requiring the City of Kawartha Lakes to clean-up city owned property contaminated by a residential homeowner's furnace oil spill. The MOE's order deemed that protecting the environment took precedent over the innocent victim's (the City's) rights. (see Dianne Saxe's blog for an excellent analysis)
Posted by Gordon Onley - The Small Business Finance Help at 11:03 AM
Friday, May 4, 2012
Peter Kenter from the Daily Commercial News recently interviewed Fisher Environmental on how marijuana grow-ops damage buildings. Below is an excerpt from that article.
The stereotypical marijuana grow-op involves a house in a small town crammed to the rafters with marijuana plants and greenhouse paraphernalia. But the RCMP estimates there are at least 50,000 marijuana grow-ops in Canada alone, and as many as 15 per cent of them are located in commercial or industrial buildings.
|Visible Mould from a Marijuana Grow-op|
“One of the biggest busts in Ontario history occurred at the abandoned Molson Brewery in Barrie, in 2004 where police seized 30,000 plants,” says Gordon Onley, business development manager with Fisher Environmental Ltd. of Markham.
The company has recently established growophomes.com as a central database to help prospective buyers of residential and commercial real estate to identify properties used for illegal drug operations.
“There are various lists of these properties available across the country, but we’re attempting to make it easier for buyers to identify properties used as grow-ops,” says Onley.
In a typical case, a grow-op is located in a rented or abandoned property where growers often perform major remodeling to create a property suitable for marijuana cultivation.
Read the entire article: http://www.dcnonl.com/article/id49896
Posted by Gordon Onley - The Small Business Finance Help at 9:05 AM
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Mould is everywhere, it is in the air we breathe and grows on virtually any surface. In fact there are thousands of species of mould in Canada. However people can develop chronic, even life-threatening, illnesses as a result of prolonged exposure to high levels of Mould.
|Mould infestation - Toronto, Ontario|
Since mould concentrations are higher indoors, which is where we spend 90% of our time, homeowners should be especially careful to ensure that their house is safe.
How do you control Mould? - Control Water, Ventilation and Temperature.
Mould requires water to grow, so it is important to prevent moisture problems in buildings. When poor ventilation is mixed with high humidity, visible mould can appear in less than 48 hours. If left unchecked, the mould will flourish eventually becoming airborne spores. It is when the mould becomes airborne that health problems can arise.
What do you do if you see or suspect you have mould?
- Your health: consult a medical health professional.
- Your home: have a qualified mould inspector to do an assessment.*
*WARNING: If you suspect that your home may have been a marijuana grow house, it may have serious and potentially dangerous structural and electrical issues. We will address the implications of owning a former "grow op" in the next blog.
|Click HERE for a 2 minute Health Canada video on Mould prevention|
Posted by Gordon Onley - The Small Business Finance Help at 9:53 AM
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
In the Court’s decision it said that the case failed to prove that Inco’s refinery dust negatively impacted the values of the properties or the owner’s ability to use their properties. The Court also found that the case did not show that the contamination posed a risk to the health or safety of residents.
There are several layers of irony in this story.
1. Smelting is a “Potentially Contaminating Activity” highlighted by the Ministry of Environment (MOE) earlier this year in amendments to Ontario’s Brownfield legislation, O. Reg 153/04. Legislation that is designed to protect human health and the health of our environment.
2. The pollutant in question, nickel refinery dust, is considered a human carcinogen by the US EPA, and EPA cites health studies from Port Colborne to support their conclusions! “Evidence of carcinogenicity includes a consistency of findings across different countries (Clydach, Wales; Copper Cliff, Ontario; Port Colborne, Ontario; Kristiansand, Norway; and Huntington, WV)”
Inco (now owned by Vale Ltd.) is however not gloating over what must be viewed as a huge victory. The company's website has no posted announcements on the case.
Posted by Gordon Onley - The Small Business Finance Help at 1:05 PM
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
In my last post we saw how Ontario’s new “Brownfield” legislation has resulted in:
- Phase I ESA’s costing more and taking longer.
- More Phase II’s ESA being recommended.
Additional implications of the new regulations are as follows:
Posted by Gordon Onley - The Small Business Finance Help at 1:37 PM
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
1. Phase I ESA's will take longer and cost more.
3. Property owners receive a copy of Phase I & II ESA reports.
Although we are only a weeks into the new regulatory regime, this could prove to be a real bottle-neck for one of the Ministry of Environment’s stated goals for the new regulations: streamlining processes related to remediating contaminated sites.
Posted by Gordon Onley - The Small Business Finance Help at 1:06 PM
Friday, July 15, 2011
Consider this situation: Your client wants to develop a large real estate parcel in a trendy transition neighbourhood in Toronto. The problem is the Phase II Environmental Site Assessment has determined the site is contaminated with a mix of petroleum hydrocarbons, PCBs, dioxins, and heavy metals. On top of that the estimated costs to remediate, if done, would kill the project.
Dead deal, right? Not necessary.
|Brownfield site in Toronto|
Risk Assessments are detailed studies of the risks to human health and the surrounding ecology caused by exposure to environmental contamination at a site.
While this is good news, the Ministry of Environment reserves the right to place a Certificate of Property Use (CPU) on a Record of Site Condition based on any risk assessment. CPU’s are limitations on how a site can be used (in order to protect human health) and are registered on title. An example of a CPU would be a provision prohibiting basements if it is deemed there is a risk of noxious vapour intrusion from contaminates in the soil.
Certificates of Property Use can limit how a site can be developed and are registered on title.
So are Risk Assessments, risky? While it is true both traditional RA’s and MGRA’s are somewhat subjective, the strength of any Risk Assessment ultimately lies in the ability of the Risk Assessor, who does the analysis of the scientific data and submits the report.
Consider though: The hypothetical real estate parcel I referenced above does exist: It is the 80-acre West Don Lands site in downtown Toronto, which is currently being developed as the Athletes’ Village for the 2015 Pan Am Games. After the Games this site will ultimately have 6,000 new residential units and 23 acres of parks and public space, all on environmentally contaminated land, but with on-going risk management measures in place.
Posted by Gordon Onley - The Small Business Finance Help at 12:57 PM
Monday, June 20, 2011
Greenfields become Brownfields. Increased Costs for Real Estate development in Toronto, GTA and Ontario.
If you have read any of my recent articles on amendments to Ontario's environmental legislation, O. Reg. 153/04, you know that the due diligence process for Phase 1 environmental site assessments will become more complicated on July 1st.
In the commercial real estate world timelines can be, and often are, adjusted. And an extra $10,000 or $15,000 in fees usually won't upset a multi-million dollar transaction. But if the site is found to be contaminated this is usually a 'deal killer'.
Environmental contamination is a ‘Deal Killer’
One of the goals of the new legislation is to recognize developments in science regarding the impacts of pollutants on humans and the surrounding ecology. 65% of pollutants will thus have more stringent numbers in the new regs. And some of the most common offenders – chlorinated solvents, oils and gas - will see significant reductions in their limits.
Therefore after July 1st we will see many more properties being tested, and more properties failing, under the new stricter guidelines. Whether you live in Oshawa, Kitchener, Peterborough, Barrie, or Mississauga - it's assured you will have more contaminated sites.
There is however hope for some contaminated sites, often referred to as ‘Brownfields’. The Ministry of Environment has introduced a new "Modified Generic Risk Assessment" (MGRA) model, which will allow some contaminated sites to be deemed acceptable for redevelopment (which is one of the stated goals of the new legislation: streamlining the process for redeveloping Brownfield sites).
Next week: Are Risk Assessments risky?
Next week: Are Risk Assessments risky?
Posted by Gordon Onley - The Small Business Finance Help at 8:56 AM
Monday, June 13, 2011
In the last blog we saw that whether you're in Toronto, London, Ottawa or even Sault Ste. Marie after July 1, 2011 a typical Phase 1 environmental site assessment will cost commercial real estate clients more money and take longer to complete.
However having to get a Phase II ESA is not the biggest concern. More important is whether the site passes the lab tests for environmental contamination. In the next blog we will discuss the implications of Phase II’s and why more sites will fail under the new guidelines.
Next week: How Greenfields become Brownfields.
Posted by Gordon Onley - The Small Business Finance Help at 9:01 AM
Monday, June 6, 2011
As we discussed in the last blog Ontario’s new environmental legislation, Ontario Regulation 153/04, Records of Site Condition, will become law on July 1st.
One of the main goals of the new legislation is to "streamline" the site assessment process, thereby allowing contaminated properties to be remediated more efficiently.
Posted by Gordon Onley - The Small Business Finance Help at 9:42 AM