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Northern community of 100 people takes big steps to clean up its landfill




A small community in the Northwest Territories is taking big steps to clean up its landfill.

Enterprise, population 100, has spent $60,000 over the last three years clearing and levelling the hamlet’s dump.

About a third of the money was spent on a contract to separate, crush and bale more than 300 tonnes of scrap metal dating back 25 years.

Compacting started in the summer. The first of eight large truckloads of scrap metal headed to Alberta this week.

Northern dumps are full of rusty, oily scrap metal that can pollute rivers and streams, contaminate wildlife and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

“We had permission to bury it but we chose to take it off site. We are true northerners and we want to keep the environment clean,” said Alan Kimble, the hamlet’s public works foreman.

Once down South, scrap metal recyclers will melt the steel and aluminum into appliances and building material, Kimble said.

Between now and the spring, hamlet crews will continue clearing the site and adding new signage.

“We will have a clean slate here, a proper and beautiful looking dump. It’s going to look like a park when we are done,” Kimble said.

Piles of scrap metal this summer that have since been crushed and baled at the Enterprise landfill. More than 300 tonnes of metal will be moved from the dump. ( Submitted by Hamlet of Enterprise)

Then and now

Once a free for all, the Enterprise dump is only open two days a week to the public. Automobiles, fuel tanks, barrels and appliances are allowed to be dumped, but must be separated and placed in designated areas — depending on whether it is residential, commercial or industrial waste.

Not only did the hamlet want to clean things up, they had to.

In 2016, the landfill was such a mess the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, which issues water licenses, cited the hamlet for non-compliance. The hamlet faced a range of penalties.

That the same year, Tammy Neal took over as senior administrative officer for Enterprise.

Since then, Neal said the mayor and council have made the dump a priority.

“We’ve come along way in the last three years with the help of [the N.W.T.’s departments of Municipal and Community Affairs, and Environment and Natural Resources] and the Mackenzie Valley Water Board,” said Neal.

‘We’ve come along way in the last three years,’ said Tammy Neal, Enterprise’s senior administrative officer. (Kirsten Murphy / CBC)

Meanwhile, Enterprise is not alone in its effort to reduce the amount of metal in its landfill.

Road-connected communities such as Yellowknife, Behchoko, Fort Providence, Hay River, Fort Smith and Jean Marie River have also removed scrap metal from landfills and trucked the loads south in the last couple of years.

Ulukhaktok is also doing it too, but by barge, said Grace Lau-a, director of community operations with Municipal and Community Affairs.

“We are very encouraged to see small communities like Enterprise and Ulukhaktok recycling scrap metal,” said Lau-a, whose department co-manages landfills in the territory.

“This extends the lifespan of the landfill and decreases the risks the landfill poses on the environment.”


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The ‘Maple Majestic’ wants to be Canada’s homegrown Tesla




Look out Tesla, Canada has a homegrown electric sedan on the way. Well, that’s if AK International Motor Corporation can drum up enough investment to make its EV a reality. Dubbed the “Maple Majestic,” the vehicle is a battery-electric designed to “excel in extreme climate performance without adversely affecting the climate, as befits a vehicle from Canada,” according to its website.

What’s in a name? — The company says the maple leaf is a “symbol of Canada’s warmth and friendliness towards all cultures,” while “majestic” refers to the country’s “status as a Constitutional Monarchy.”

That patriotism carries over into Maple Majestic’s parent company’s lofty goals. AK Motor founder Arkadiusz Kaminski says he wants the company, which he founded in 2012, to become “Canada’s first multi-brand automotive OEM,” and that the “Maple Majestic is intended to be Canada’s flagship brand of automobiles on the world stage.”

Partnerships are key — “We acknowledge that the best chance for the Maple Majestic brand to succeed, lies in continuing to build the relationship with Canada’s parts suppliers and technological innovators, whether they be academic institutions, corporations, or individual inventors,” the company explains. “We are currently seeking partners in automotive engineering, parts manufacturing, automotive assembly, electric propulsion technology, battery technology, autonomous technology, and hybrid power generation technology.”

In other words, don’t expect to be able to buy a Maple Majestic any time soon… and don’t expect to pour over 0-60 mph times, power output, range, or other key stats, because those don’t currently exist. For now, all we have are pictures and a short video clip. But at least those are arresting.

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PE-backed Quorum Software to merge with Canadian energy tech firm




Houston-based energy technology company Quorum Software will merge with a Canadian tech firm to bolster its presence in oil and gas services.

Quorum announced Feb. 15 it plans to merge with Calgary, Alberta-based Aucerna, a global provider of planning, execution and reserves software for the energy sector. The combined firm will operate under the Quorum Software brand.

Gene Austin, CEO of Quorum Software, will continue in his capacity as chief executive of the combined firm. Austin, former CEO of Austin-based marketing tech firm Bazaarvoice Inc., became CEO of Quorum in December 2018.

Aucerna co-founder and CEO Wayne Sim will be appointed to the Quorum Software board of directors. Both companies are backed by San Francisco- and Chicago-based private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

“Over the last 20 years, Quorum has become the leading innovator of software deployed by North American energy companies,” said Austin. “Today, Quorum is expanding the scope of our technology and expertise to all energy-producing regions of the globe. Customers everywhere will have access to a cloud technology ecosystem that connects decision-ready data from operations to the boardroom.”

In addition to the merger announcement, Quorum Software announced it had entered into an agreement with Finnish IT firm TietoEvry to purchase TietoEvry’s entire oil and gas business. The agreement, which includes hydrocarbon management, personnel and material logistics software and related services, is valued at 155 million euros, or $188 million, according to a statement from TietoEvry.

“Our three organizations complement each other — from the software that our great people design to the energy markets where we operate,” said Sim. “Our new company will be able to deliver value to our stakeholders, while accelerating the growth of our combined business and the energy industry’s software transformation.”

The combined company will serve over 1,800 energy companies in 55 countries, according to the announcement. With its headquarters in Houston, Quorum will continue to have a significant presence in Calgary and in Norway, the headquarters for TietoEvry’s oil and gas software business. Quorum will have other offices throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

As of Sept. 30, 2020, private equity firm Thoma Bravo had more than $73 billion in assets under management. In late December 2020, Thoma Bravo agreed to acquire Richardson, Texas-based tech firm RealPage in a roughly $10 billion acquisition.

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Piece of Kitchener technology lands on Mars on Perseverance rover




KITCHENER — A piece of Kitchener technology has landed on Mars, thanks to NASA’s Perseverance rover.

The rover settled on the planet’s surface on Thursday afternoon. It’s been travelling through space since it was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. in July.

“The whole idea of being on a device that we’re sending to another plant with the express mission of looking for traces of past life, it’s pretty mind boggling actually,” said Rafal Pawluczyk, chief technical officer for FiberTech Optica.

The Kitchener-based company made fibre optic cables for the rover’s SuperCam that will examine samples with a camera, laser and spectrometers.

“The cables that we built take the light from that multiplexer and deliver it to each spectrograph,” Pawluczyk said.

The cables connect a device on the rover to the SuperCam, which will be used to examine rock and soil samples, to spectrometers. They’ll relay information from one device to another.

The project started four years ago with a connection to Los Alamos National Lab, where the instruments connected to the cables were developed.

“We could actually demonstrate we can design something that will meet their really hard engineering requirements,” Pawluczyk said.

The Jezero Crater is where the Perseverance rover, with FiberTech Optica’s technology onboard, landed Thursday. Scientists believe it was once flooded with water and is the best bet for finding any evidence of life. FiberTech’s cables will help that in that search.

Ioannis Haranas, an astrophysicist and professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, said the rover isn’t looking for “green men.”

“They’re looking for microbial, single-cell life, any type of fossils and stuff like that,” Haranas said. “That’s why they chose a special landing site. This could be very fertile land for that.”

“It’s very ambitious,” said Ralf Gellert, a physics professor at the University of Guelph.

Gellert helped with previous rover missions and said it’s the first time a Mars rover has landed without a piece of Guelph technology on it. While he’s not part of Perseverance’s mission, he said the possibilities are exciting.

“Every new landing site is a new piece of the puzzle that you can put together with the new results that we have from the other landing sites,” he said.

“It’s scientifically very interesting because, even though we don’t have an instrument on that rover, we can compare what the new rover Perseverance finds at this new landing site,” he said.

Now that Perseverance has landed on Mars, FiberTech is looking ahead to its next possible mission into space.

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