Email: peter at peterladner.ca
Linkedin: Peter Ladner
Thank you for your time today.. Just to update you why the tunnel was so important.
The Canada Post Tunnel -(WAS) IS THE NORTH’S AGRICULTURAL LAND RESERVE . (explanation below) It was to be urban cubic gardening (vertical and light reciped) growing environment. In this world the controlled variable is light and we set the temperature constant via hyper insulation. Plantlab.nl tedx gives part of background what we are doing.
We can grow 45 times per sq foot in the tunnel compared to Imperial Valley of California plus all the other benefits of hydroponics /aquaponics you aforementioned in your talk.
The Yukon MP – Ryan Leef is trying to help stop the destruction as we speak. He is only government person that has spent the time (technology approach is not a soundbite) to understand what CCI was trying to do to help the north in housing , food and energy , health security issues. The system as you are aware is inter connected.
I just watched your youtube talk on economics of urban food systems and concur with all your viewpoints. We have watched the progress city /farm folk interplay since our friends came up with the idea with the First Farmers market in Vancouver many years ago and feel there is a long way to go in enabling the people who need it most.
As in the NYT article stated rich get organics, poor get diabetes. In the north it has the highest Diabetes rates and mortality rates in North America.. It is Canada’s Africa..
For what the Canada government spends today on subsidizing the North ($60 million on jet fuel alone) we could redirect a small portion of the subsidy and provide unlimited greens , chickens , milk etc. to every northern resident for far less than the jet fuel subsidy itself..
Our take is more on a business side and we have established ourselves in Dubai where the economics are much clearer ( Higher end prices for organic food, much lower input labor costs and abundant solar energy) . We have a $2million specialty building robot building 80×300 foot “growhouses” .
The “southern” Canada side the economics are more nebulous but we feel there is a very clear business case for food security, health ., and housing for the north.
While working on Dubai project an associate who was working in Iqaluit asked us to see if we could help the North. He stated situation up there was Brutal. The absolute need was amplified several times compared to Vancouver.
So we ended up engaging with CCI ( cold climate innovation center at Yukon College) in identifying what it would take to help solve the problem.
We come from a more architectural technical environment and have identified with Cold Climate Innovation Center – (only NSERC approved facility in the North) and via a multiday problem solving symposium at the International Centre for Governance and Development for the North on what are the issues to make a northern “growhouse” an economic reality . We have some familiarity as our associates in Northern Alaska are running a 48 cabins / 2 restaurant , a conference center , ice hotel (even in summer) and raising chickens, eggs, milk, strawberries , lettuce all on renewable resources 12 month a year today .
The tunnel represented “pillar 4” of 5 on our requirments for a economically sustainable norhtern growhouse– The tunnel is (was) a northern controlled environment lab (located near knowledge workers ) to establish a datum point and information highway to Whitehorse that could be replicated from Whitehorse to the remote communities in Canada.
The tunnel is the north’s “agricultural reserve” as it is easier with our local knowledge workers to set up what is needed here to provide a holistic experience for the northern resident. Our system relies heavily on software and remote control monitoring and teaching to establish the standard. Hence the need for a geographical central lab that is controlled by the North.. This was the idea of the tunnel .
Our Dubai partners were ready to give a substantial part of the aquaponics ( yes Bruce Swift type method but next generation ) to the Food Bank. This was done partially because they saw the downtown eastside and partially for non altruistic reasons ( maximizing SRED claims) but the idea in the end was we feel was very helpful to the community .
On the growing side we have re teamed up with Philips , Plant lab and even the Gotham Greens operator (( she came via Dr Resh -(founder of ubc greenhouse and aquaponics – he runs 7 star hotel garden in BVI) and the Uof A CEA)) type team (sky vegetables actually) and have oriented away from Vancouver since tunnel seems to be on its way to destruction.
Even Uganda govt now has called to say that they will put $2million aside for us to help here as the consequences of the tunnel not going ahead affects them upto 100x fold.. (can explain this if you like) . They have a 300 million $ problem that this solves and all part of the technology we were going to use. Issue now is the UAE relies on solar so we will most likely not be carrying it out -at least for now . Uganda govt is to say the least , very upset by the city move.
Precix ,our company has sold to 45 countries and many leading universities around the world before the Canada $$ took off (vis a vis the US$) and made Vancouver non viable . My associate Greg Marsh set up Canada’s invention of Interac in 40 plus countries and has world wide banking (via interac set up) contacts. We are utilizing these contacts to show some novel green tech and growth strategies .
Our main deal is in UAE,(emirates decor our partner – part of Bu haleeba ( large construction / shopping center group) and Kenya/Uganda right now but there is many other of our “people ” wanting to come onside with us . The only reason we looked at Tunnel is because we live in Vancouver and the North – once we showed them idea told us please help them secure the rights to it. Our idea was to post a bond and then get back to it once we had addressed the other “pillars” we were in the middle of working on.
It is strange as tunnel is a federal asset which they are paying $2million to dispose and another federal department who looked at a lab like this costing $10 million plus wanting it and it still cant happen.
It could produce $5million a year in salmon fed via scraps from restaurants ( a la Dr Suzuki enterra feed) — we are working with another company but same soldier fly concept..
Canada Post was the one who called us after they found out city was not going to use it .The city led Canada Post , ourselves that they had a re use for it and when we contacted them a year ago we had short 5 minute talk that they were not interested in any ideas as they had it under control. We asked them to get in touch if they
did not move ahead- they did not . . Jim Douglas of Canada Post was the one who emailed us . He also stated personally he wanted to see a re-use but wanted zero liablity.
Canada Post even offered CCI / ourselves $1.0 million to acquire it . We stated to city we would put this to working capital . Our analysis was for $250,000 one could address air , worksafe issues. (They had several children halloween parties down there – with no incident) but when Gregor went “in” it was a very formal affair.
Again tunnel experts who have over 100 mines to their credit called the city approach to solving the safety issue – in the kindest of words – people unable to utilize even the basic tools and reasoning in a 20 foot deep tunnel. –
They have even taught classes to young geotechs in the Canada Post Tunnel.
Our associate Dr Erez Allouche ( see his list of accomplishments) and director of trenchless tunnel center at LTU called the analysis – ( F- if presented by his student) . (He has contract with Nasa to build on Mars ) and won a 2006 Ontario outstanding scientist award.
So you can see our frustration when we got totally opposite opinions from Vancouver city engineers. We feel there is a whitewash and it is the northern poor who get directly affected by this action.
Anyway.. we are doing lots of other tech and Precix core skills is focused mostly on the low delta energy systems , renewable energy and architectural panel portion of the project. One application of this is ambient light processing which could heat most Vancouver houses 11 months a year and provide hotwater 8 months a year.
This is in testing at CCI now with an advanced curtain wall system that is being done with us and NJIT – Yale.-U of Kentucky – (our current customers) . A weekend place in near Whitehorse will be utlizing this tech for long term testing..
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by Peter Ladner
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