Short Term COVID Construction

Federal Minister of Infrastructure details $3.5bn fund for retrofits and outdoor projects

Hospitals, universities, colleges, and school boards across Canada can now access fund to construct retrofits that that enable:

  • Social distancing

  • Ease of hygiene

    Examples like:

    • Hand sanitizers

    • Automatic doors

    • Hand washing stations

Minister McKenna also announced that funs would be made available to enable better outside use of:

  • Paths

  • Bike lanes

  • Nature trails

These project must be wrapped by the end of the 2021 construction season.

To fund these projects, the federal government is carving out 10 per cent of the $33.5-billion provincial and territorial portion of the Investing in Canada plan as a specific COVID-19 recovery fund. The fund is designed to focus on creating more pandemic-resistant facilities, and encourage outdoor activities, with the Federal government paying a minimum of 80% of the bill.

"That stream is really recognizing some real opportunities to support the health response but also the economic response so we get projects going in the next one to two years," said Minister of Infrastructure, Catherine McKenna.

She also emphasized that other projects like public transit, green infrastructure, and, high speed internet access will need to be high quality, "We need to get the most value for our money, which is not just shovel-ready projects, but shovel-worthy projects," she said.

CN Rail: A case example for repurposing assets for outdoor use

For companies thinking about how they can adapt existing assets to create bike lanes, or nature trails, we thought we’d provide an imagined approach for CN Rail.

CN focuses on values like safety and sustainability. They also have several assets like old stations and de-commissioned rail lines that could be re-imagined, re-purposed and re-activated for communities to get people outside.

Here’s are a couple of imagined sketches for a group like CN to think about:

(this station could serve multiple purposes: bike tune-up, water top up, washroom, CN rail history, etc. Obviously physical distancing and hygiene strategies would need to be put in place).

Taking out or placing removeable pathways overtop decomissioned rails could create beautiful new pathways that reconnect locals with a part of their community that maybe they couldn’t enjoy previously.

If you are a large player in infrastructure, landscape architecture, and site planning put your heads together to think about how new ideas and opportunities can emerge by thinking differently about your sites and assets.

Would love to learn about ideas others have to adapt facilities, and get Canadian’s moving over the next two summers!