In this month's issue:
If Arnprior inventor Mike De Abreu has his way, people who fish Ontario’s lakes and rivers will soon have a powerful new tool to help them figure out where to drop their lines.
De Abreu, founder and President of NeptuneCharts.com, has developed an advanced low-cost technique using Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASVs) to survey bodies of water and produce detailed, accurate paper and electronic charts of subaquatic topology and structure.
“They will allow you to know exactly where you, and if you are fishing in an area and you are looking for a particular feature underneath the water, like a submerged tree stump, you can get to within 10 feet of it by using your GPS,” said De Abreu.
Neptune Charts recently won $30,000 in seed funding under a new program called VentureStart, which is supported by the federal and provincial governments, Carleton University’s Lead To Win initiative, Invest Ottawa, and other organizations.
De Abreu will use the money to buy equipment that will enable him to start mapping out Eastern Ontario’s fishing lakes this summer before moving further afield. He’ll be using his mapping technique, which utilizes a global positioning system, electronic sonar, and a programmable ASV called the Waterbug, made from a kayak shell.
Curiously, De Abreu thought of the idea about 15 years ago when he was still working as a programmer for an Ottawa telecommunications company, but the technology hasn’t become cost effective until recently.
De Abreu decided to commit to developing his business upon his introduction to the VentureStart program and the Lead to Win initiative, which also provided him with superb business development training.
Many Eastern Ontario lakes were mapped out for fishing decades ago, but measurements were done with crude tools and do not necessarily provide accurate data.
Alastair Baird, Manager Economic Development Services for the County of Renfrew, said Neptune Charts is a particularly exciting creative business venture for a number of reasons.
“It links a very important recreational and tourism activity for the Ottawa Valley and Renfrew County—fishing—with leading edge technology and mobile devices,” Baird said. “We are doing similar work in the area of tourist route maps and descriptions, mobile applications for all sorts of tourist information and booking systems, and a massive database and mapping system of our cultural assets and creative community. "
A tiny start-up business near the edge of Lanark County is about to begin selling a sonar device that could revolutionize the way mariners detect objects underwater.
Echotec Sonar Corp., based in the village of Ashton, near Ottawa, is preparing to introduce a unique sonar technology that the company expects will attract huge demand from yacht and fishing fleet owners as well as the scientific and military communities.
“For the first time we are looking at a product that has extreme high resolution in water to the point where it will be able to provide fish species identification and render a three-dimensional view,” said Brad Pinch, Echotec’s Vice President of Business Development.
Developed by long-time sonar and underwater acoustic systems experts Phillip Johnson and Dan Ward, the High Definition Omni Sonar system targets the defence, scientific, commercial shipping, and commercial fishing markets.
Unlike traditional sonar, which provides a one-dimensional view of objects, Echotec’s sonar system shows all sides of an object as far as one kilometer away.
It’s ideal for fishing boat crews who want to know the species of fish around them or those on military vessels who need to detect underwater threats such as mines or pirates. Yachters can use the device to detect potential below-surface obstacles.
Echotec (www.echotec.ca) is in the final stages of developing its High Definition Omni Sonar and plans to launch the product in September at the annual International Marine Show in Seattle, Washington, which is attended by thousands of commercial marine vessel manufacturers and owners.
The company has already started receiving calls about its High Definition Omni Sonar, since releasing a news release in March revealing that Canadian marine navigation company Northstar is hoping to acquire Echotec.
Echotec also recently made Eastern Ontario headlines by winning $30,000 in seed financing from a new program called VentureStart, which is run by a number of organizations, including Invest Ottawa, Carleton University’s Lead to Win initiative, and the provincial and federal governments.
SGS Canada Inc. Lakefield lab facility expansion creates jobs, grows economy
One of the world’s top metallurgical, inspecting, testing and certification service providers has won approval to build a 41,000-square-foot laboratory facility in Lakefield, Ontario.
SGS Canada Inc. has received site plan approval from the Township of Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield, allowing SGS to proceed with its growth plans.
Gerard O’Dell, Managing Director from SGS Canada Inc., said the construction includes a multimillion dollar contract involving Kawartha Capital Corp. and uses the services of many local sub-contractors.
“We are happy to say that we anticipate hiring at least 60 new staff, professionals that will continue to provide the high level of expertise that is associated with the Lakefield site,” O’Dell said.
SGS, a global leader and innovator in inspection, verification, testing and certification services, employs more than 70,000 people globally and operates
a network of more than 1,350 offices and laboratories around the world.
O’Dell said the Lakefiled SGS facility is known internationally as a key repository of metallurgical, geochemical and environmental expertise and thus a critical part of the company’s 2014 Growth Plan.
Dan Taylor, President & CEO of the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation (GPA EDC), said an expansion of this caliber will result in infrastructure investment and demonstrates that the region is an attractive business location.
“We’re working hard to create an environment that encourages growth and job creation in knowledge-based, innovative and creative industries,” Taylor said. “This is a perfect example of the type of growth this region is best situated for. “
The facility currently employs 475 people.
2012 Visitor Guide for Cornwall & The Counties now available
Did you know that Cornwall is home to Ontario's only hot air balloon festival? Or that the Glengarry Highland Games are the largest Scottish games outside of Scotland?
These are just two of the many interesting tidbits of information to be found in the 2012 Visitor Guide for Cornwall and the Counties, which is now available at information stands throughout the area—and beyond.
The Visitor Guide is the go-to reference document for people visiting Cornwall and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. The 94-page booklet contains detailed information about the numerous events, attractions and accommodations to be found in the area—yet it is small enough to be carried in your back pocket.
"The interests of visitors are diverse, and it is important that The Visitor Guide contain as much useful information as possible," said Linda Wilson, Executive Director of Cornwall and the Counties. "At the same time, people want to be out exploring our museums, shops and restaurants—and they do want something light and easy to carry."
The guide was published by the Seaway News and contains bilingual listings on over 200 events, attractions and businesses.
"This year's guide offers a crisp and clean design template that we think visitors will find attractive and easy to read," said Wilson. "Pulling it off in such a short time period was possible due to the collaboration between our advertisers, publishers and tourism staff."
The guide features the work of local photographers such as Roxanne Delage, Lynn Armstrong, Rob Lefebvre, Dean Ducas, Dan Morency, Jason McNamara and Bob Peters.
Over 40,000 copies of the Visitor Guide have been printed and a few hundred have already been handed out at trade shows this year. The Visitor Guide is now available at strategic locations throughout Cornwall and S D & G, including the tourism office located at the Historic Cornwall Jail. It will also be distributed throughout Ontario, Quebec and the Northern U.S. in hopes of catching the attention of eager travelers.
Of course, visitors planning a trip to the area are welcome to request a free copy of the guide via the CornwallTourism.com website.
Community Innovation Forum showcased opportunities for local businesses
Peterborough-area business owners met at a special forum with members of three local community and business organizations to learn about innovation opportunities earlier this month.
Business owners were invited to meet April 5 with the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster, The Trent Centre for Community Based Education and Fleming Colleges School of Business, Computing and Hospitality at The Second Annual Community Innovation Forum: Knowledge in Action.
The forum included two panel discussions, a keynote address with a networking session, and a student-organization partnership project showcase.
The 2012 Community Innovation Forum built on last year’s successful merging of three previous events: the Innovation Clusters Innovation Summit, Fleming College’s Showcase of Applied Projects, and the Trent Centre for Community-Based Educations Knowledge in Action Forum. This year’s forum demonstrated the importance of community collaborations in driving a healthy, prosperous economy and social, cultural and environmental sustainability.
This year’s forum featured a keynote presentation by Kevin Stolarick, Research Director at the Martin Prosperity Institute.
The Community Innovation Forum also provided an opportunity for students to demonstrate the benefits of student partnerships for both host organizations and students.
McGuinty government works to ensure successful renewable energy program
Ontario is moving ahead with its clean energy program, taking immediate steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of renewable energy while creating more jobs, lowering prices and giving communities a greater say, says a release from the province.
Following the first review of Ontario’s signature Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Program, the government will act quickly to implement all of the review’s recommendations:
- Create more jobs sooner by streamlining the regulatory approvals process for projects while maintaining the highest environmental protection standards.
- Reduce prices for solar projects by more than 20 per cent and wind projects by approximately 15 per cent.
- Encourage greater community and Aboriginal participation through a new priority point system, which will also prioritize projects with municipal support.
- Reserve 10 per cent of remaining capacity for projects with significant participation from local or Aboriginal communities.
- Develop a Clean Energy Economic Development Strategy to leverage Ontario’s significant expertise and strengths to become a global leader in the sector.
Ontario’s clean energy strategy has attracted significant renewable energy development, leveraging more than $27 billion in new investment and economic opportunities. More than 20,000 clean energy jobs have been created and the province is on track to create 50,000 jobs, while helping build a healthier future for all Ontarians.
Building a clean energy system is part of the McGuinty government’s plan to create and support jobs for Ontario families while ensuring Ontarians have the electricity they need to power our homes, schools, hospitals and our economy.
Since FIT launched in 2009, almost 2,000 small and large FIT projects have been approved to produce enough electricity to power about 1.2 million homes. Last year in Ontario, wind and solar produced more electricity than dirty coal, which will be completely phased out by 2014.
During the consultation period, more than 2,900 individuals and organizations responded to online survey questions, over 200 written submissions were received, 80 meetings were held and 1,700 people participated in an Ontario Power Authority webinar.
Regional economic developers to meet in Port Hope on April 20
Economic developers from across Eastern Ontario will descend on Port Hope on April 20 to learn about an initiative to clean up low-level radioactive waste in the area and to hear about the city’s innovative business incubator.
Run by the Ontario East Economic Development Commission, the event will feature an information session on the Port Hope Area Initiative, a project that is dedicated to the safe cleanup, transportation and long-term management of historic low-level radioactive waste in Port Hope and Clarington.
The Initiative is a partnership between Natural Resources Canada, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, and Public Works and Government Services Canada that has received a $1.28-billion funding commitment from the federal government.
Attendees will also learn about IDEAHUB, a unique collaboration of private and public partners led by the Municipality of Port Hope that is dedicated to the success and growth of new and emerging companies. There will be an opportunity to tour the facility and network with existing tenants.
The event will also feature updates on the Ontario East Economic Development Commission and the Ontario East Municipal Conference, a presentation on business immigration and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, and a networking session.
To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613-634-8569. The event costs $45.