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Michael McSweeney, CAC President and CEO, addresses attendees of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Michael McSweeney, CAC President and CEO, addresses attendees of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities 2012 Sustainable Communities Conference prior to the CAC-sponsored plenary session Revitalizing low density communities.

Good Morning.


Thank you, Brock, and Good Morning everyone.  It is wonderful to be back at FCM.  I think I last spoke here when you met in Whistler.

As a former City Councillor here in Ottawa it is always a pleasure for me to ‘come home’ to FCM and to see some of my former colleagues.  You can take the boy out of City Council, but you can’t take City Council out of the boy.

The Cement Association of Canada is very pleased to support and sponsor this important plenary session on revitalizing low-density communities.  When I was on city council I like you today had to grapple with contentious issue.

Today the industry I work for, the cement and concrete industries, are endeavouring to provide your communities with sustainable building products to address this challenge as we have provided foundational solutions to communities, not just here in Canada, but as far back as the pantheon and the roman aqueducts.

As you grapple in this session with revitalizing low-density communities please remember that in every region of this county, we contribute to the vitality and liveliness cities and towns.

Just think of the Confederation Bridge linking PEI to New Brunswick, and the hundreds of other bridges connecting our neighbourhoods, our families, and our friends.

Or major transit projects like the Vancouver’s Light Rail Transit system, or the soon to come tunnel that will be built through Ottawa’s downtown core, the key 400- series highways in Ontario, our museums and libraries, or the high rise buildings and skyscrapers that enable Canadians to live, work, and play.

As our population continues to increase, and cities begin to feel the pressure to renew, expand and develop, we are there to support this development with sustainable and green products. Remember that over 35% of GHGs come from the buildings sector through a loss of energy in poorly conceived buildings built with the wrong building materials.

It is important to remember that the enduring resilience and durability that make concrete the building material of choice for critical infrastructure and projects can also be applied to residential structures, especially as you look to revitalizing low density neighbourhoods.

City Councillors are forward-thinking community leaders who live across this country and make long lasting decisions that will affect people’s communities for generations to come.  Let me leave you with one thought – whether you are constructing buildings, transit, infrastructure - build it right, build it once and build it to last. This is a fundamental principle of sustainability.

“Build it once, build it right” means taking into account the full lifecycle of a building, structure or pavement. In today’s fragile global economy, where limited resources are a reality, resilience, durability and cost effectiveness …I mean spending taxpayer’s money wisely, could not be more important. It makes good business sense, and it is the right thing to do.

Think of this:

Concrete buildings are more energy efficient than the alternatives from an operational perspective. This is vital considering that the majority of the energy consumed by a building project will be consumed over the service life of the structure.

Concrete’s thermal mass helps regulate the interior building climate every minute of every day.

And when it comes to pavements, concrete, because of its light colour, reduces lighting requirements and the heat island effect, which reduces cooling requirements.

This all adds up to energy conservation and cost savings of course and also to the comfort of our fellow citizens ? in addition to the several other benefits provided by concrete pavements and structures.

The Cement Association of Canada (CAC), our valued members – Canada’s cement and concrete manufacturers—are serious in developing state-of-the-art sustainable products and technologies that meet the needs of consumers, while reducing emissions and waste.

For example we introduced a new cement Contempra – a cement that reduces greenhouse gas emissions – there is a capacity to bring about positive change equivalent to taking 172,000 cars off Canadian roads or planting 23 million trees every year.

At the end of the day when you’re really think about Concrete you’ll become a believer like me that Concrete is even smarter than you think

I’m sure our presenters’ perspectives will make for a fascinating and stimulating discussion.

Enjoy the session and the rest of the conference.

Thank you



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