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Fischer-Hallman Improvements project wins Ontario Public Works Association’s DEI Award

We're pleased to share the news that the Ontario Public Works Association has awarded the Fischer-Hallman Improvements (archaeological program) project with the 2023 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award! The award was presented at the OPWA Annual Awards Luncheon on May 29 in Mississauga.

The project began as a Schedule ‘C’ Class Environmental Assessment for a review of the road widening and capacity needs along a major arterial corridor in a rapidly developing community. Road cross section alternatives were evaluated incorporating active transportation/cycling facilities, transit facilities, and integrating trail networks in a 2-lane to 4-lane widening scenario. Environmental and archaeological impacts were also investigated and mitigated in design, incorporating Low Impact Development (LID) facilities within the roadway and advancing further archaeological investigations to mitigate impacts to evidential discovery of an Indigenous settlement within and around the road corridor.

Ultimately, a formidable Stage 4 Archaeological investigation was required during construction and unearthed thousands of unique artifacts – the first of its kind in the Region of Waterloo. A unique relationship between the owner, general contractor, and Indigenous community representatives needed to be articulated in a dynamic construction contract accommodating time and spatially sensitive staging in a tandem active archaeological investigation/mitigation operation.

The award recognized the project team's role in implementing a framework for completing major capital infrastructure projects alongside Indigenous community stakeholders, acknowledging the enduring presence and traditions of Indigenous Peoples.

Congratulations to Gul Khan (Construction Project Manager and Contract Administrator) and Peter Lejcar (Environmental Assessment and Detailed Design Project Manager) as well as Daniel Curtis (Site Inspector, Contract Administration Support) for their roles in advancing this important project and contributing to the successful completion of this major $17M first phase for the Region of Waterloo! Honorable thanks to Delton Zehr for his work as the Region of Waterloo Project Manager at the time, prior to joining the Associated's Kitchener office. This team is currently advancing the design and tender of the fourth and final stage pending construction in 2025.

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