Lacombe's Main Street Program receives international Envision award

City of Lacombe, Stantec and Pidherney's representatives celebrate the Institute of Sustainable Infrastructuren Envision Silver Award on 50th St. in Lacombe, Alta. on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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The City of Lacombe’s Main Street Program has received international recognition.

On Tuesday, the city announced the project has received the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s (ISI) Envision Silver Award – the first given out in Alberta by the Washington, D.C.-based organization for sustainable infrastructure, and just the fifth in Canada.

“It’s an exciting time. It represents the combination of a lot of hard work, a lot of collaboration that’s occurred over the life cycle of this project and we’re happy to be recipients of this award,” said City of Lacombe Director of Operations and Planning Jordan Thompson.

Projects given silver status are required to demonstrate they deliver a range of environmental, social and economic benefits to the community, and in going over the Main Street Program, Thompson said the project definitely met all the criteria and qualifications.

What was originally pegged as a $6.75 million project began in the spring of 2015, necessitated by the collapse of a sanitary sewer main in the downtown core. Given the road where main work had to be done was going to be torn up, the city chose to make further improvements on 50th Ave. – Main Street – which included parking, road and pedestrian safety measures such as the closing off of access from 49th St., lighting, and other functional improvements.

The City of Lacombe’s Main Street was completely torn apart and impassible to traffic making its way through the city in October 2017. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

The final phase of the project wrapped up in 2018 with paving of the road and aesthetic enhancements, and was completed on schedule and under budget.

They key, however, to the project’s success was in the collaboration between the city, project team – which included both Pidherneys and Stantec – and business owners, and how they worked in concert to ensure there was minimal disruption to the public and businesses while construction was underway.

“It really places Lacombe on the leading edge of infrastructure and asset management,” said Ben Haeusler, project manager with Stantec.

“In the engineering world, we like to brag about nerdy things like technical specifications and the like, but the really unique thing about this project that brought it home and made it such as success was the team and the collaboration.”

Envision is described as a “groundbreaking” resource for planning, designing, building and maintaining civil infrastructure. As per the City of Lacombe, contributing factors in the receiving the award were improved quality of life, accessibility, safety and wayfinding, in addition to infrastructure integration, public space enhancement and provisions for stakeholder involvement.

“We did not set out to chase this award – but once we concluded the project, we realized we did a lot of things that individually may have seemed innocuous, but together make a project really unique and something that is not common in the industry,” said Thompson.

Ultimately, it resulted in the Envision Silver Award.

“The Lacombe Main Street Program is an excellent example of turning an urgent, negative situation – in this case a degraded sanitary sewer system – into a sustainable, vibrant, community and business-oriented project,” said ISI President and CEO John Stanton.

“ISI is pleased to present this project with an Envision Silver Award for sustainable infrastructure. Congratulations to the City of Lacombe and the entire project team on this tremendous achievement.”

The Main Street Program also won the American Public Works Association Alberta Chapter’s 2018 Project of the Year Award in October.