Ground Water Canada

Features Associations Business
Letters to the editor: Spring 2010


December 15, 2010
By Ground Water Canada magazine

Topics

Over the past three years, the executive director of the Canadian Ground
Water Association (CGWA) has made a number of unsolicited comments
regarding the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition (CGC) in the pages of this
magazine.

Sir:
Over the past three years, the executive director of the Canadian Ground Water Association (CGWA) has made a number of unsolicited comments regarding the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition (CGC) in the pages of this magazine. Often, his remarks and comments were not fully accurate and complete. We believe most of these past errors and omissions were made inadvertently. However, recent comments are completely false and misleading, and the CGC would like to shed light on these.

In the Winter 2009 issue of Ground Water Canada, Mr. MacRae wrote that the “federal government has provided funding for the CGC through grants but has not insisted that this growing industry provide groundwater aquifer protection as part of the mandate.” This statement is entirely false as well as misleading on two accounts.

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First, the CGC has never received a single cent from the federal government through grants. Grant monies go directly to customers. Customers who receive grant monies, like all geoexchange customers in Canada, must follow all applicable legislations and regulations, federal, provincial and municipal. Surely CGWA is not suggesting that a federal grant program is the appropriate place to create new legislation, or that the federal government should impose new regulations within provincial jurisdictions. This would be against the letter and the very spirit of the Canadian Constitution.

The federal government has provided partial funding to specific CGC projects through contribution agreements. Part of this funding was used in late 2006 to contract the CGWA to develop a geoexchange training course for drillers and loop installers. As the entire industry must know by now, this project is currently the object of a commercial dispute between the CGC and CGWA. After many focused efforts by CGC to resolve this issue amicably, the CGC was rebuffed by CGWA. At the request of CGWA, the case is currently in front of an Arbitration Tribunal in Quebec.

Secondly, it is very misleading to insinuate that the CGC is not concerned with ground water or aquifer protection. A well-informed person would know that the training courses developed by CGC include extensive material on ground water protection. A well-informed person would also know that the standard C448 Design and Installation of Earth Energy Systems contains the necessary guidelines and requirements for proper and adequate ground water protection, and is referred to directly in most provinces’ building codes. By documenting and requiring compliance to the national consensus standard for CGC System Certification, by requiring documented adherence to regional and local law, and by training industry professionals to existing recognized standards, the CGC has actually been one of the strongest and most effective proponents of ground water protection in Canada over the past three years.

In the Winter 2010 issue of Ground Water Canada, Mr. MacRae once again commented on the CGC in the following terms: “…many of our members are involved in geothermal work across Canada, and the Manitoba group, even without the help of the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition (CGC), is one of the strongest in Canada.” This statement is not only false, but actually and totally pointless in the context where it was made.

The truth is that the CGC has not only consistently helped the Manitoba group, MGEA, since its creation, but CGC actually played a key role in MGEA’s creation. The CGC advocated as early as 2005 for the creation of the MGEA, within and then in partnership with the provincial utility. CGC’s position in favour of creating an industry group specifically in Manitoba was clearly articulated to Manitoba Hydro, the Government of Manitoba and other stakeholders starting at a Manitoba Roundtable in September 2005. CGC sponsored MGEA’s first conference in March 2006 and delivered a keynote speech which included a discussion of partnership and a clear, honest and straightforward invitation to work together.

In addition to these efforts, CGC has consistently and openly shared much of its proprietary market transformation material with MGEA. This material includes but is not limited to the analytical framework for the development and deployment of the CGC Global Quality GeoExchange™ Program® which covers accreditation for industry professionals and certification of systems. In December 2007, CGC and MGEA took a big step forward by signing a partnership agreement, negotiated and executed in good faith by both parties, which included provisions for training, accreditation and system certification. If this is not help, one wonders what greater help CGC could have possibly provided.

Unfortunately, it is much easier for some people to engage in criticism and to recycle second hand, unfounded information rather than seek the facts and the reality. At the end of the day, it is not the CGC who will suffer the most, nor the writer of this letter. It will be the entire industry. Anyone who’s reading this letter has the power to press the self-destruct button or engage in a constructive dialogue. The future, your future, is in your hands.

Denis Tanguay,
President and CEO, Canadian GeoExchange Coalition


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