Tires that are no longer suitable for use on vehicles due to wear or irreparable damage are among the largest and most problematic sources of waste, due to the large volume produced, their durability, and the fact that they contain a number of components that are ecologically problematic. Approximately six million tires are recycled per year in Alberta and a Sturgeon company called Eco-Flex Rubber Solutions is an important link in the recycled rubber manufacturing chain.
Eco-flex Rubber Solutions is a company founded by CEO, Alan Champagne in 1992. The 24 year old company is an industry leader in manufacturing high value end use recycled rubber products that are used for industrial, municipal, commercial, agricultural and residential applications.
Eco-flex manufacturers a range of products within a 35,000 square feet manufacturing facility situated 30 minutes north of Edmonton. The company was featured on Today in America by Terry Bradshaw. This short clip will give you a great overview of the business.
Recycled rubber products have a range of advantages that makes it a popular choice for high traffic environments. Now with a selection of colors, patterns and textures, these products are also finding their way into residential interior and exterior applications.
There are three main lines of product that Eco-flex Rubber Solutions manufactures and sells:
• Automotive products which include parking stops, speed bumps, rumble mats and sound barriers. See list of products
• Commercial and residential products include rubber flooring, yard tiles, stair treads and landscaping edging. See list of products
• Industrial products include rig and floor mats, safety walkways and ramps. See list of products
So what makes rubber a superior choice for each of these applications?
Durability is often mentioned as a major advantage of rubber - it’s strong, tough and resilient in a variety of conditions. They do not crumb or flake apart over time and so they tend to have better longevity.
Low Maintenance: Rubber can be very easy to take care of and is generally stain resistant.
Water resistant: Rubber is nonporous, meaning it is resilient against mildew and mold. This makes rubber ideal for wet environments or areas prone to moisture.
Soft and pliable: Rubber is a comfortable surface for areas where people must stand for long periods of time. The cushioning reduces the occurrence of fatigue and foot injury. Rubber parking stops for example, are more forgiving when you misjudge and drive over them.
Sound properties: Rubber can minimize sound between floors in a building. Because of its elasticity, it can reduce noise from walking to moving heavy loads.
Fire and burn resistance: Rubber is resistant to burns left from cigarette butts and other small heat sources.
Range of colors: There are five colors and a variety of patterns available. The growing popularity of rubber flooring for example, is inspiring new designs by architects.
Choice of textures: The surface of rubber mats can be manufactured with raised dimples, studs, and other complex textures that enhance traction and minimize slips in wet areas.
So, before you spend your money on new flooring, take a look at these advantages again and see the products for yourself. If you’re interested in learning more about the Eco-flex product lines for a specific application or require a quote for a project, contact them by phone at 780 961 3229 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit them at 57425 RR253, Sturgeon County, AB or purchase their products from Burnco Landscape Centers in Alberta.
Eco-Flex makes us #SturgeonProud
The appeal of a log home is a combination of common sense and nostalgia, which lets one live comfortably, even luxuriously in a work of art, while keeping a traditional craft alive.
The history of log homes
Log homes are often associated with pioneer settlement, but did you know that West Coast Indians used log frames for their large plank houses long before the arrival of European settlers? Immigrants to the prairie west patterned their first log houses after customary forms of their homelands (e.g., Ukraine). In the subarctic forests, log houses provided comfortable shelter for trappers and woodsmen. Their attractive appearance and thermal efficiency still make them popular not only with summer cottagers across Canada, but among many people with a renewed interest in traditional housing.
The log home builder in Sturgeon County
M&H Wood Specialties has been in the log home building and renovation business in the Edmonton area for over 34 years. They specialize in exterior finishing, structural and aesthetic restoration and new builds. I went on a tour of the company’s building construction site with owner, Paul Murray, who explained the various aspects of the operation and the growing desire for natural homes.
I learned that beyond the rustic ambiance and the strong connection to nature, there are other several advantages for owning a log home.
1. They are long lasting – long homes still in use today date back hundreds of years.
2. Tree are a renewable resource – logs are often sourced from forests that are certifies as sustainable and some builders such as M & H can construct home to green building standards
3. Log homes naturally fit the landscape they are built within.
4. Thick logs make the walls warm to touch. If the home is sealed properly, you could have a home is 20 to 30 percent more energy efficient than a conventional home.
5. Your home can be framed onsite faster than a conventional build, which will reduce the likelihood of weather related damages.
6. Rustic does not mean no technology – log home builders are able add communication technologies and other automated features.
7. If you’re concerned about mold or insect infestation, log homes offer a clear advantage of giving you the ability to notice the issue faster than a conventional home with sealed wall cavities that offer hiding areas.
8. Furthermore whole wood products are less likely to affect people with environmental sensitivities.
9. Logs and lumber used in homes sequester considerable carbon; there is less energy required to turn a log into a finished housing component as compared to drywall, vinyl etc.
10. The lifecycle of log homes that may be centuries are much greater than the typical 75 year lifecycle expectancy of most mainstream construction systems.
A few of many eclectic homes built by M & H – take a tour of their building exteriors
…and their building interiors
How log homes are built
I really appreciate the the work of log builders because – log homes are works of art that require immense patience and physical labor. Although M & H uses more intricate construction processes, log homes are typically constructed in ten steps. First, the logs are individually selected to ensure that they are free of dry rot, cracking, splitting and bug infestation. M&H uses hand peeled, air-dried, Eastern slope, slow growth Alberta White Spruce. The logs can be dried from one to two years.
A proper foundation may be constructed with traditional stone or concrete blocks. Creating a basement involves excavating and creating foundation walls, which is much more work. The foundation pictured above shows an example of what a simplified one may look like.
The logs are then put together using a technique known as scribe, fit, round-notch method. This features semi-circular notches cut in the bottom of the logs to fit over adjacent ones to ensure proper water drainage when it rains. Grooves are also cut down the entire length of the log to eliminate air drafts.
Alignment pegs are then installed at each corner of the structure and around every window and door opening to maintain the stability of the log home. When the logs reach the top of the planned window and door openings, the walls are braced and openings are cut out all at once.
The roof on the cabin shown is a combination of purlin and rafter construction. A purlin is a horizontal beam or bar used for structural support in a roof. Purlins are supported by rafters which are a series of sloped beams that extend from the peak of the roof all the way to the outside walls. Once purlins and rafters are installed, roofing boards are put in place and then either asphalt or cedar shingles are used to complete the roof. The doors and windows are then installed to complete the home.
There is a lot of planning that goes into log home construction to ensure safety and longevity and this is where M & H excels. Besides engineering your tastes and preferences to building code, M & H helps you maximize the energy conservation of your new home by placing it properly onsite. They take the extra step in examining the building envelope through modern energy testing.
One thing I admire about the company is their focus on sustainable forestry. M & H harvests timber from designated forestry areas in Alberta and British Columbia, which are then replanted with five saplings for every harvested tree. So essentially, the company not only provides a lasting product for their customer; they are also in the business of rebuilding our future one tree at a time.
If you’re interested to learn more, check out their office at Pro North Industrial Park - 27 Kuryluk Blvd or their website at: www.mhwood.com.
M&H Specialties makes us #SturgeonProud!
I’ve always had the dream of becoming a pilot since I was a child. That desire drove me to a point of exploring that opportunity at age of 25 when I was at a career crossroad. Private school for pilot training was going to be an expensive route, so I signed up to go through the Canadian Air Force to achieve my dream. I recall paying $50 for an intro flight lesson to determine if flying was for me – simply put, I felt in love. I flew with an instructor in a Cessna 172 for half an hour and my favorite part was learning how to climb and do 90 degree banking turns. Although I wasn’t successful in pursing flying as a career, I’ve never forgotten how exhilarating it felt to be in control of an aircraft.
My visit to the Namao Flying Club at the Villeneuve Airport brought back these pleasant memories. Founded in 1972, the flying club is located at Edmonton's primary training airport and just 20 minutes from the city. Namao Flying Club is a not-for-profit organization that offers attractive savings over other local flying schools and aircraft rentals.
I met Bob Smits, the Chief Flight Instructor of the Club who gave me a tour of their facility located in the east hangar of the Villeneuve Aviation Centre. The club offers a number of different license programs for novices ranging from recreational, private pilot and commercial to night and instructor ratings. Licensed pilots also enjoy access to their aircraft fleet that include:
A Mooney (smaller aircraft)
A Piper Twin Comanche
The flying club also has a Precision Flight Controls Simulator that simulates the Cessna and Piper aircrafts.
It has a spacious apron and hangar that offers ample maneuvering space, along with on-site fueling. Members participate in the positioning of aircraft around the facility, which gives them an added experience not available elsewhere.
Out of curiosity, I researched the training costs at the flying club for a recreational or private pilot license and I was pleasantly surprised. The estimated cost of a Recreational Pilot License Training program is $5,445 and you can start as young as 16 years of age! This program includes a minimum of 25 hours of flying and 40 hours of ground school. Although you are restricted to day flights and one passenger only, in a single engine, non-high-performance aeroplane, it’s quite an exciting perk that one could fly solo for five hours in this program!
If you want to go for private pilot license, you have even more ability to take those family trips, get to your business meeting in less time or set yourself up to for other flying career opportunities. You will need to be at least 17 years of age and you’ll enjoy a minimum of 45 hours of flying time with 40 hours of ground school for a total of $8,745. The training fees are based on Transport Canada's minimum requirements.
The ability to fly a plane opens up incredible new doors to travel and see the world as you never have before and I think Namao Flying Club has quality programs at affordable rates for flying enthusiasts.
I couldn’t think of a more ideal environment to learn to fly - reduced air traffic, minimum transit time to the practice area and a friendly community. If you have ever had an interest in flying, I highly recommend that you go out and spend the $60 to take an intro flight. You could even take your spouse or date on the extended one hour tour which allows you to fly over the Edmonton cityscape for only $175. It’ll be worth the time and money and you will not regret it!
Visit www.namaoflyingclub.com or call 780.419.6777 for more information.
When I heard of an apiary just on the outskirts of Morinville, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to visit it. I called the owner of Greidanus Apiaries, Paul Greidanus, to schedule a visit. During our conversation about the visit, Paul asked if I was allergic to bees. I thought “uh oh” as I responded no. I was stung by a wasp last summer and that wasn’t fun, so evidently, I felt a tiny bit of uneasiness.
I drove east of Morinville and 2km north of Highway 642 and Range Road 245 to the honey processing facility. When I got to the parking lot next to the facility, there were some bees flying around my car – a little concerning but I took some courage, opened my car door and remained calm – no stings….phew! I met Paul working busily on an extractor among some other coworkers. He gave me a tour of the facility and gave a little bit of history on how he became a bee farmer.
The company’s hives are placed on farms to pollinate crops such as alfalfa and canola – think of interdependence between crop and bee farmers. Crop farmers get pollinators which allow plants to produce seeds and fruit while the bees use plant nectar to make honey. Paul employs seasonal workers, mostly from Nicaragua to harvest the honey because it’s difficult to find local people who are willing to work on the bee farm.
Greidanus produces about 110 drums of honey per day and this year has been an exceptionally good one for them. The dry climate causes field crops to germinate and bud flowers at different points in the summer season. When that happens, bees are able to obtain nectar over a longer period of the season. This period is also extended when farmers delay swathing until their crops have flowered. This means more nectar for producing honey at each bee hive. Honey production per hive can range from 150 to 200 pounds, which works out to about 50-60 pounds of honey per box.
How the bees are kept?
A standard beehive has a bottom board and a hive cover with five supers in between. A honey super consists of a box in which 8–10 frames are hung. Each super contains bees that rear their young and store honey and pollen. Normally, the bottom two supers are brood supers used for rearing the young and storing honey and pollen for short-term and winter use. The top three supers are used to hold the honey crop.
Whether bees come from packages or have been kept over the winter, the bee colony is inspected to ensure that the queen is present and laying eggs; that there is no sign of disease and that the colony has sufficient stores to last until the first nectar.
As July approaches, frames are put in place to hold the honey. When all the frames in a super are filled with honey and one-half of the cells are capped with wax, the frames are removed from the hive and the honey is extracted. Normally honey flows in Alberta slow down in August and the amount of space given to the bees can be reduced somewhat.
Once the honey supers have been removed, the bees are fed sugar and water to ensure that they will have enough food to survive the winter. Greidanus purchases 300,000 pounds of Rogers sugar per year to keep the bees fed during the winter. This feeding is done before the end of September. Towards the end of October the bee colony is wrapped with a tarp to protect the bees from the elements.
If the bees are outside, there is little that can be done to assist them. They will survive even if they are completely covered by snow for a while.
How the honey is harvested?
Harvesting the honey crop involves several steps, all of which require some equipment. The first step involves separating the combs of honey from the bees (pulling the honey). Using chemicals requires a number of special covers (acid boards). The chemical is placed on the underside of the cover and the smell drives the bees out of the honey super. A bee blower is then used to blow the bees right off the frames.
The left picture shows a device with an electrically heated knife that is used to remove the wax cappings from the honey comb. This honey extractor is a motor-driven machine that can handle 100 or more frames. You can also see Paul loading the frames into the honey extractor which spins the frames around in a centrifuge.
Once the honey is extracted, it is strained and then stored in a warm place in a tall tank to allow the fine impurities to rise to the top. At the bottom of the tank is an outlet that the clean, warm honey can be drawn from directly into the honey containers. During peak times, the company can produce 110 drums of honey in excess of its usual 80 drums per day.
The drums are then kept in a storage warehouse until they are ready to be transported to market. Paul was very thorough in explaining how the business works, so I ended this visit very educated about bees and bee farming. If you’re interested in getting some tips on starting a hobby as a bee farmer or want to buy some honey in bulk, give them a call at 780.220.6712. They’re such a happy and friendly bunch at the facility.
I heard about Smokin Elk Ranch from a co-worker in a conversation about a herd of elk I noticed roaming a field while driving down Highway 2 past Morinville. I assumed that the herd had strayed from the Rockies while searching for food. Since this was my first time hearing about the ranch, I was naturally curious to buy a package of elk meat and try it out.
Smokin Elk Ranch is a family owned business that was started in 2003 by Bill Vischer, and his wife, Caroline. The farm occupies 280 acres and contains 210 free range elk - 82 bulls, 85 cows and 43 calves. Bill started his career in livestock as a dairy farmer after he took over a farm with his brothers from his father. He got out of the dairy business and moved with his family to Carbondale where his elk business started on a 77 acre farm. Building on the success of that ranch, he purchased a larger plot of land at his current location around Township Road 554 and Range Road 254. With product lines that include meat, processed elk antler and bulls with good genetics, the farm has operated successfully for twelve years.
Health-conscious eaters will appreciate that elk meat is very high in protein and is more richly flavoured than beef. Elk meat, or venison, has fewer calories, less fat, and less cholesterol than beef, chicken, lamb and turkey. It is also rich in minerals particularly iron and phosphorus, which shows in its rich dark colouring.
Elk are raised with no growth hormones or chemicals. They are predominantly grazers and eat most upland grasses such as broom and legumes like alfalfa. The lean nature of elk meats means it needs less time on lower heat. Customers stop in at the ranch for their supply of elk roasts, steaks, smokies, sausage rolls and other meat products. Since the animals are slaughtered and processed at a federal inspected facility in Barrhead, the meat is perfectly safe to eat.
Velvet antler is effective as an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, immune stimulant, and pro-grown agent. Antlers are said to be the fastest growing membrane known, and it is this rapidly growing tissue that contains nutrients needed to improve some human health deficiencies. Did you know that bulls grow antlers back in 90 days and can grow upwards of 2 inches a day during peak times? If a human could grow bone that quickly, a broken leg would heal in one day!
Since elk grow and shed antlers every year, the cutting of the velvet antlers does not harm the animal. Typically, the antler is cut off near the base after it reaches about two-thirds of its potential full size before any significant calcification occurs. Harvesting the antler at the right time is crucial as it holds the most active ingredients within it at that time. The velvet covering is scraped off during processing and the rest of the antler is ground up into powder and packaged at a local processing facility in Sagundo. Royal Elk Products is a well-established local manufacturer of elk velvet antler capsules and bulk powder sold at the Smokin Elk Ranch.
and Excellent Genetics
There is significantly more profit generated from selling elk with good genetics. The animals are carefully selected to produce better elk to meet the needs of the velvet, hard antler and meat market. The size of a bull elk's antlers is an indication of his health and strength, and of his capacity to breed similarly hardy offspring. A large number of antler points and antler mass on a bull are usually indicative of superior genetics, good feed and maturity. Smokin Elk Ranch has achieved high standings in trophy elk competitions and with that; the ranch has increased its status among top breeders looking for excellent genetics. The ranch sells genetically superior elk to farms in the U.S. looking to improve the quality of their breeding herd, looking to grow heavier velvet or searching for trophy hunting stock.
Smokin Elk Ranch is a fun place to visit in the summer for your elk meat and to learn about elk. The Vischers host field trips from nearby schools, giving kids an insight into livestock farming. Stop by the ranch and try some elk meat – you’ll love it!
Smokin Elk can be reached at (780) 939-5659.
Did you know? Elk easily adapt to a wide range of temperatures by growing two entirely different coats. The summer coat is a thin, sleek layer of short hair that is the colour of copper. It is entirely replaced by the light brown and tan winter coat, which consists of two layers – thick, long guard hairs and a dense, wooly undercoat.
My visit to First Choice Tree Nursery occurred on a beautiful sunny day when I was just itching to get out of the office after spending several hours at the computer. First Choice is just off Range Road 245 from Township Road 642, East of Morinville. The 80 acre tree nursery is owned by Ron and Deb Cherdarchuk who have owned the business for 22 years. If you have a passion for florals, you’ve probably heard of their son, Cory Christopher who makes regular appearances on Breakfast Television, CTV and the Edmonton Journal.
I was greeted warmly by Deb, who came out her greenhouse with a big smile and her tools – she was clearly enjoying her day working with her plants. It’s quite amazing that she’s able to get back to work after a bout with Hanta virus that threatened to take her life. Despite her slow road to full recovery, Deb is grateful to be back to what she loves.
First Choice Tree Nursery offers caliper and shelter belt trees, including edible and floral container gardens. In case you’re wondering, caliper trees are older and larger than saplings, and require extra care when planting. Shelterbelt trees consist of one or more rows of trees or shrubs planted in such a manner as to provide shelter from the wind and to protect soil from erosion. Container gardening on the other hand is a method of cultivating plants exclusively in containers instead of planting them in the ground. It’s useful in areas where the soil or climate is unsuitable for the plant or crop in question. Ron (Deb’s husband) also provides landscaping services and skid steer work.
First Choice Tree nursery has prairie hardy trees and shrubs in many sizes and varieties, including some exotic tree species like the Japanese Maples pictured on the bottom right. The nursery sells plants in container sizes along with balled and burlap field grown trees. Tree nursing can be labour intensive and a risky venture especially for small producers and is truly a labour of love. Deb spends several hours potting plugs, irrigating, fertilizing and weeding them until they are ready for her clients. With the experience she’s gained over years of nursing trees, you can be confident of the quality of her trees - her customers love her products. So whether you are a rookie gardener in need of hand-holding or an experienced gardener planning a major project, Deb can give you the professional advice and tailored recommendations to ensure your unique project is completed easily, with long-lasting results.
Container gardening is a niche that Deb is rapidly expanding at the nursery – I’m personally excited by this aspect of her business because it allows anyone to change the ambiance of an area by changing the plants in their pot or by moving them around. Take your pick – flowers, herbs or vegetables, Deb has an impressive array of plants that can bring splendor to your balcony, patio or window.
Take a visit to First Choice Nursery with your family. She will show you around the nursery, and around the farm. Even if you don't need plants right now, Deb would be happy to talk about possibilities with you, and share some of her ideas about landscaping. Here is her contact information:
56032 RR 245 in Sturgeon County
Call for an appointment
Chemical and materials manufacturing facilities play a major role in just about every facet of our lives but few people are aware of this industry’s role in keeping other sectors of our economy humming – think chemicals for newspaper printing presses, recycling water, cleaning boilers…the list goes on. Guardian Chemicals provides over 400 chemicals products for multiple applications and they have four divisions that cater to a wide range of sectors. One thing is common across these industries – they’re looking for products that are not only effective and reasonably priced, but environmentally safe as well - a tough juggling act from my point of view but a manageable challenge for their research and development team.
The most common binder used in making these boards is formaldehyde, a chemical that is of concern to the wood panel industry because of the risk of cancer. The industry has imposed tighter controls on the use of formaldehyde and most mills in Europe and North America are switching to resins that are free of them.
Although these resins are safer to use, some cause excessive buildup on panel pressing machines, thereby slowing production. So the smart scientists at Guardian Chemicals have formulated a release agent called Pressguard that prevents this sticky resin buildup from occurring. In the picture above, the wood panel is sprayed with the release agent before the surface of the metal press comes into contact with the panel. Unlike other release agents on the market, Pressguard does not require any elaborate application process so it keeps the cost of board manufacturing low and our furniture affordable for us.
In the picture above, a computer-controlled spray boom on the back of a distributor truck is spraying a county road with Roadtek. Depending on the weather, the road is typically tack free (i.e. not sticky) within 4 to 6 hours. At that stage, the area may be reopened while the sealer coat continues to cure. It reaches full strength within 10 to 14 days.
Here's what a country road looks like after it’s sprayed. Looks like you'll have a few less trips to the carwash this fall! It’s remarkable to see a local company develop such innovate products that will ultimately have a positive impact on industry and the environment. If you’d like to learn more about Guardian Chemicals, check them out at http://www.guardianchem.ca/ or use this link to find them on Google Maps.
Phone: (780) 998-3771
Start in Sturgeon is about building your business within Sturgeon County. We wanted to create a website that welcomed conversation, included easy to find information and was flexible to work on multiple devices.
We are excited to reveal our new website that we have been working on for a number of months. We will continue expanding on the information and resources that are available on the site, and welcome your input along the way. One key piece of this site will be our new Business Directory. This directory will soon list all businesses within Sturgeon County, including licensed businesses in Bon Accord, Gibbons, Legal, Morinville and Redwater. If you have a business that is currently not listed, please email your business information to Leanne at email@example.com to have it included.
Thank you for browsing through our site, we look forward to expanding on it to include everything you need for doing business in Sturgeon County!