Ottawa, Ontario, August 24, 2009. AMO President Peter Hume and MPP Carol Mitchell, PA to the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing, presented a PJ Marshall Plaque Award to Essex County for exploring use of the earth’s natural heat to melt snow and
“A plaque award recognizes projects that exemplify all of the P.J. Marshall Award’s criteria – innovation, tangible benefits, improved efficiency, innovative financing and transferability,” said Peter Hume, President of the Municipalities of Ontario (AMO).   “This is an amazing idea that could help all municipalities keep bridges safe and strong, without having to use road salt.”

Partnering with a private company, Essex County is testing the feasibility of using geothermal energy as an alternative to salt in a three year experiment.  Natural sources of underground heat, combined with boilers when it is very cold, are being used to melt snow and ice.  This reduces the need to use road salt, which is hard on the environment and the bridge itself.

The Award was accepted by Warden Nelson Santos and CAO Brian Gregg.  

“The County of Essex is honoured to be selected as the 2009 P.J. Marshall Plaque Award recipient,” said Brian Gregg, CAO.  “We hope that the geothermal snow-melt bridge technology can be replicated in other County bridges and bridges across Ontario to provide safer driving conditions for travellers while reducing salt usage during the winter."

The P.J. Marshall Award is an annual competitive process organized by AMO.  Awards acknowledge municipalities who have demonstrated leadership and innovation in public-private partnerships.  Submissions by Ontario municipalities are judged by a panel on their creativity and success in implementing new, innovative ways of serving the public.

This year, one award and two certificates of merit were awarded.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments.  AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.  

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