Case Studies

For situational, real-life examples of how we can help with nearly any project in the North, please take a short look at the diverse case studies below.

We approached John Blyth and Adam Bathe of Blyth & Bathe to help us design and to deliver our ISR Community-Based Monitoring training program for us. We trust in John and Adam’s knowledge, expertise and teaching skills. We have seen them deliver high quality, culturally sensitive and student focused training programs in the ISR in the past. In additional to their expertise and teaching skills, their approach to one-on-one efforts with all students and their understanding of Inuvialuit cultural norms in relation to teaching methods, student-teacher interactions and training material is why we chose them to conduct our training.

Jennie Knopp, Program Coordinator - Inuvialuit Settlement Region - Community-Based Monitoring Program (ISR-CBMP), Joint Secretariat – Inuvialuit Renewable Resource Committees

 

Alternative Energy Study Case Study

Devonian Metals Inc was in the project planning stage for a lead-zinc mine in a remote part of the NWT. Based on preliminary projections, they would need 600 million liters of diesel to power their proposed project over the expected 10-year lifespan of the mine. Devonian approached Blyth & Bathe for advice on potential alternative energy sources to power their operations, hoping to cut costs and reduce the environmental impact of their project.

A solid foundation is necessary for any project. We began our project by researching a number of projects (completed and proposed) spread throughout the North that would act as useful analogues for Devonian’s proposal.

Armed with the knowledge of what had been successful in similar contexts, we were able to assist Devonian in finding funding for the associated feasibility studies.

Our network of associates is quite broad, and we often lean on them for advice for projects such as this. Working with engineers, economists, and environmental scientists based in Sweden, California, New Zealand, and Dubai, Blyth & Bathe was able to provide a world-class knowledge base that drew on their expert experience to provide the highest quality product.

Our team worked with alternative energy industry insiders and government representatives to develop a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) by which we could assess the economic viability of the various energy systems from an equalized baseline that was tailored specifically to Devonian’s site.

Blyth & Bathe then compiled the results into a plain-language report that could be used to easily demonstrate the economic feasibility of each of the energy systems. As a result, Devonian was able to secure funding for the next level of feasibility studies for both geothermal and biomass systems.

Devonian now can take an informed approach to planning energy production at their site. With this knowledge, they may well be able to cut millions of dollars off their yearly operational costs.

The report of the first phase of this project is available here.

Regulatory Environmental Resource Description and Analysis (Gap Study)

The NWT has a very unique regulatory system that is rooted in co-management of resources and land, as was agreed upon through the modern land claim process. This process has been in a process of continuous evolution, beginning with the Berger Inquiry and moving forward with the implementation of the numerous modern treaties in the territory. The settled claims in the NWT have resulted in a system of co-management where authority for lands and resources is shared between the comprehensive claims and the government (both territorial and federal) through the creation of co-management boards. These boards are given authority through the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (save for in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region) and are responsible for lands-related issues such as land use permitting, water licensing, environmental assessment, and contributing to decisions about renewable resources. As the regulatory system is quite unique in the NWT, many resource developers see the regime as problematic and convoluted. Many developers are underequipped to properly engage with the regime and run into costly delays due to poor planning and a lack of experience and understanding of the context in which they are operating.

Blyth & Bathe’s approach to this issue is to provide clients with a Regulatory Environmental Resource Description and Analysis, also known as a gap study. Gap studies provide clients with advice on the scope, scale, and depth of knowledge that will be required to successfully navigate through the environmental, sociopolitical, and regulatory regimes that apply to the project. The document is updated regularly to reflect technical changes as regulatory policies and procedures change. The report is typically split into two parts. The first part is focused on the environmental and regulatory regime of the NWT and includes a description of the steps involved in environmental assessment, licensing, and permitting, as well as a layout of several possible scenarios for how the process could proceed.

The second portion of the gap analysis is the environment resource description, which includes all the existing relevant knowledge and information for the project area. This includes extensive information on the social, environmental, and cultural background of the site. Information is presented thematically by section: climate, hydrology, soils, surficial geology and seismicity, wildlife, socio-economics, traditional knowledge work done in the area, cultural geography, water quality, fish, species at risk, etc. Each theme is then subdivided into four parts that provide the client with the information they have and what studies they need to do or what information they will need to collect in order to complete the licensing and environmental assessments by the MVLWB or MVEIRB.

Good planning early on is a valuable asset, and it has been our experience that principal delays in the regulatory process are the result of incomplete developers’ assessment reports, incomplete land use permit applications, or unforeseen information requests during environmental assessment. These delays could have easily been avoided with due diligence and the acquisition of solid data early on. Additionally, this approach to early data collection and planning is more cost-effective and results in better relationships with communities, the regulators, and potential project investors.

Recommendations for the structure and content of SoPAN Reporting

The GNWT Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) and the NWT Protected Areas Strategy (PAS) were investigating options for drafting a NWT State of Protected Areas Network Report (SoPAN Report). They needed to feed into their established State of the Environment reporting already done by ENR and meet national reporting requirements. Some indicators were available in their current State of the Environment (SOE) report, others through work done by the PAS and in national reporting. With this in mind they asked Blyth & Bathe to recommend to them how their State of Protected Areas Report should be done.

To accomplish this, Blyth & Bathe reviewed all of the current NWT information and conducted a general overview of SoPAN reporting in all other provincial and territorial jurisdictions. The best three provincial jurisdictions and national reporting standards were then analyzed and presented in detail with an eye to making recommendations for the best way to report in the NWT. Blyth & Bathe presented website reporting, primary published SoPAN reports, and any other background documents that were linked to the SoPAN report in these and other jurisdictions. Although international examples were not required, a review of international examples was conducted, and that of Australia was selected for recommendations on how SoPAN reporting might best be done in the NWT. State of Heritage Rivers, World Heritage sites, and Parks Canada’s State of the Parks reports were also researched and analyzed for good ideas. As one can imagine, this was a significant undertaking that produced a 183-page report within a very tight three-month deadline. Client feedback was paramount, and reports for review were submitted at the outline, draft, and final report stages.

The final report included State of Protected Areas and/or State of Protected Areas Network reports completed by other Canadian jurisdictions, including sources of information for each section, a list of indicators that they used, as well as any pertinent laws, policies, and guidelines. References and links to web sites and reports were included. For the purposes of the report, descriptions of and live links to all SoPAN reports for each provincial jurisdiction were also included. The descriptions of Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba are described in more detail, as they were the three jurisdictions that served as the best models for the NWT. B.C.’s SoPAN reporting contained numerous relevant points of discussion and was also written out in some detail. Concluding the report was a layout and description of how the website could look and function. A description of content and purpose for each section and a sample webpage were included.

This report included a very comprehensive analysis of protected areas reporting and recommendations for improving SoPAN in the NWT. It presented an ideal approach. As such, Blyth & Bathe recognized that some of the recommendations were not possible in the short term, but could stand as a set of goals to work toward over this and the next reporting period. Live links to websites and databases allowed this report to be a convenient tool for finding information for various jurisdictions. In fact, these links provide new information as the sites are updated after the completion of the report.

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