Sustainability at HCA

Sustainability at HCA

The goal of the Sustainability Committee is to promote and ensure that all internal operations and practices are as environmentally sound as possible.

The purpose of the Sustainability Committee is to provide input, advise on initiatives and develop recommendations which

  • promote sustainable business practices and energy conservation throughout all conservation areas and office buildings, and
  • promote these practices among conservation area users and the general public

We’ve been working toward sustainability for a number of years already but staff keep coming up with ways to contribute!


No idling decal.

  • ‘Please Turn Off Your Engine’ signage is being installed at select parking facilities within HCA’s Conservation Areas
  • ‘Please Turn Off Your Engine’ decals are being installed on all of HCA’s fleet vehicles and idling reduction messaging has been incorporated into our fleet vehicle training program.
  • HCA registered with, and provided a staff training session for, the Smart Commute Program.
  • Over the past 10 years, 55 hectares of HCA lands have been naturalized. These lands were once regularly mowed throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall months. CO2 emissions from these activities have been reduced.
  • HCA has enrolled in Auto$mart, a free membership program offered by Natural Resources Canada which provides access to learning modules for driver education programs for private and public organizations. The program is designed to educate drivers, both on and off the road, on how to conserve fuel while driving and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to provide a healthier environment for everyone.


  • Valens Lake Conservation Area installed motion detector L.E.D lighting during recent washroom renovations.
  • HCA continues to convert appliances to high efficiency models. A high efficiency furnace has been installed at the Valens Lake CA, air conditioning unit at the Main Office and refrigeration unit at Wild Waterworks.
  • Numerous energy conservation retrofits have been completed at Christie Lake CA, Fifty Point CA, Westfield Heritage Village, Woodend Main Office and the Central Workshop.
  • Energy conservation retrofits at the Millgrove Works Yard have resulted in the entire facility now being run on less power than one of the light fixtures that was in place originally.
  • HCA has replaced traditional fluorescent lighting with more efficient compact fluorescent lighting and due to increased brightness was able to reduce the number of bulbs used by half.
  • Christie Lake Conservation Area installed motion detector lighting in all washroom facilities.
  • All programmable thermostats at HCA facilities have been set to a standard temperature of 68°F/78°F for heating/cooling during the weekends and 72°F/76°F for work days.
  • Wild Waterworks completed three projects to reduce energy consumption in 2013. Overall these measures are anticipated to save WWW about $6,000 per year in electricity. The projects included:
    • Reballasting and relamping of all our light fixtures, converting from t-12 to T-8 lights as well as switching from incandescent to LED exit lights.  These measures should reduce the overall lighting costs by 25%.
    • Replacing four of the older filter motors with high efficiency models – 93.60% efficiency which are expected to perform 10% better than the older model (These are 40HP motors which run 24 hours a day from May 24 – Labour Day.
    • Replacing the wave generating equipment and reduced the number of motors used to generate waves from 6 to 3.  This will reduce the energy consumption by approximately 50,000kWh per year.


  • A Valens Habitat Restoration Working Group has been started where staff from various departments will be working together to undertake habitat restoration projects within VLCA using a portion of the proceeds from the sale of firewood that is generated from hazard tree removal.
  • Last year HCA used potted Christmas Trees for the first time. Positive feedback was received from staff and members of the public. The trees will be planted in the Spring and monitored for health and survival.

Hazardous Materials

Propane Recycling stations at Fifty Point, Christie Lake and Valens Lake 

  • HCA completed its pilot year participating in Stewardship Ontario’s Orange Drop Program, providing our customers with an opportunity to recycle small propane cylinders. Over 1200 propane cylinders were collected and sent to be sustainably recycled, double the estimated 600 cylinders at the beginning of the year.
  • Valens Lake, Christie Lake and Fifty Point Conservation Areas now recycle single-use propane cylinders at their waste station as part of Stewardship Ontario's Propane Drop recycling program.
  • HCA has an internal battery recycling program where batteries are collected and then properly disposed of for recycling.
  • HCA uses natural cleaners at its Main Office.
  • HCA completed a chemical inventory at all of our facilities to remove and reduce harmful chemical storage and future use.


Christie Lake retrofits.

  • Water fountain retrofits to water bottle filling stations, to help reduce the amount of bottled water utilized in our facilities. The retrofits have begun with the CLCA Beach Pavilion this year. Other stations will be phased-in during future improvements.
  • Confederation Beach Park staff have donated old lumber that has been repurposed by the Hamilton Naturalist Club to create a bird-viewing platform near Grimsby
  • The newly installed trail at Fifty Point re-used old asphalt as the base for the trail
  • Flooring from the Maplewood Centre was reused for the Fifty Point CA gate house.
  • The washrooms at Christie Lake CA were renovated with all low flow/water conservation fixtures and with materials re-purposed from other facilities.
  • The roof of the Woodend Main Office was recently replaced with steel roofing that will be recyclable at the end of its life cycle.
  • Commercial Carpet Tiling that is made from 100% recycled materials was utilized for the Woodend Main Office foyer and kitchen renovation. The existing carpeting was 1005 recycled.


  • HCA uses 100% post consumer product (recycled) paper that is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified.
  • HCA now offers an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) option which provides all staff and 350 vendors with the option to make and receive payments through automatic bank deposits. To date, HCA has increased EFT's for staff and vendors by 50%, saving 2188 envelopes and 2188 cheques. Sign up for EFT at
  • The Finance Department eliminated an entire filing cabinet from their office by:
    • scanning all cheques that used to be photocopied and filed and
    • not printing edit lists and invoices. For example 99.9% of Wild Water Works customers are emailed their invoices.
  • Marketing and Communications has reduced the amount of printed materials by 50% since 2010.
    • 2010 – 5952 kg
    • 2011 – 3468 kg
    • 2012 – 1378 kg
    • 2013 – 1922 kg
  • Internally, HCA promotes a preference for electronic document management for reducing printing/paper usage.
  • The Watershed Planning & Engineering Department is now emailing letters rather than faxing and mailing them.
  • Westfield Heritage Village is sending out all correspondence to schools via email including confirmations and information packages. Invoices are also sent electronically.  60% of volunteers receive the Village Chronicle electronically.
  • The Payroll and Information Technology Departments have developed a paperless time sheet system.
  • HCA is now using a paperless pay statement system, saving approximately 300 envelopes and pieces of paper each pay period during peak months.
  • Online Nature’s Rewards Membership Passes are now paperless, internally. We fulfill all online passes at Woodend, and the Finance Department no longer requires 2 additional copies.
  • Redemption of rewards associated with the membership passes is paperless. Reward punch holes have been added to the new design, therefore reducing an extra brochure print.
  • Wild Waterworks uses excess cafeteria tray liners as one-sided printer paper.


HCA signage.

  • Marketing and Communications staff worked with Westfield staff to create educational materials to encourage school, youth and day camp groups to bring litterless lunches to our Conservation Areas
  • HCA hosted the Christmas Potluck with a sustainability theme. Staff reported the following minimal amounts of waste were generated from the event: 1 bag of compost, 2 bags of recyclables and ¼ bag of traditional garbage.
  • HCA Workshop located beside Woodend installed 2 hand dryers to reduce waste of power towels.
  • Fishing line recycling receptacles have been installed at some of HCA’s popular fishing spots. The used lines will be collected and sustainably recycled.
  • HCA recycles writing instruments through the Staples Canada and TerraCycle® recycling program. We collect and recycle old/empty pens, markers, highlighters and mechanical pencils.
  • Westfield Heritage Village implemented a “boomerang” lunch initiative in the summer of 2016 that ensures every piece that arrives in a lunch bag is returned to its source by using reusable containers and all organic materials, recyclables and waste are taken home at the end of each day for proper disposal.
  • HCA has developed guidelines to assist staff with the reuse or sustainable disposal of surplus materials to divert waste from landfills.
  • HCA has an internal ink/toner cartridge recycling program where staff are able to return empty laser jet, ink jet cartridges and toner cartridges to our office supplies contractors, for reuse or proper disposal.
  • ‘Help Keep Our Natural Areas Clean’ and ‘Pack Out What You Pack In’ signage is being installed at our facilities to reduce littering and promote recycling.
  • HCA has held six e-waste recycling days that have resulted in over one tonne of e-waste being collected and sustainably recycled.
  • Fifty Point Marina recycles the shrink wrap used for the storage of over-wintering boats.
  • The renewal of the Central Waste Station system at the Woodend Main Office and Conservation Area offices has resulted in the Woodend Office generating only one small bag of garbage per week.
  • Valens Lake CA is qualitatively measuring the amount of recycling diverted from the landfill each week.
  • Valens Lake CA has observed that by centralizing the waste station at Valens, the Conservation Area has decreased the amount of garbage being left by visitors by half.
  • Valens Lake CA is reusing beach towels left behind as rags for cleaning throughout the Conservation Area.


  • The Fifty Point Marina Guide contains a section entitled Boating and the Environment. The guide outlines steps that customers can follow to protect the environment and their safety.