Environmental responsibility is integral to maintaining the sustainability of our tourism industry and the experiences we offer visitors into the future. Its not just the resource based outfitters that need to consider the principals of sustainability but every partner, urban or rural, has a role to play. We believe that the principals of sustainable tourism are a key foundation of our municipal tourism strategy and can be implemented by all of our partners irregardless of the experiences they promote.
In 2004, the City of Thunder Bay, in partnership with the Zero Waste Action Team, implemented the Municipal Green Awards, that called for applicants to set specific goals to reduce, reuse, recycle or divert waste or improve the management of resources within the community, their business or organization. On March 1, The City of Thunder Bay recognized a number of Thunder Bay businesses and organizations for their actions during 2009 in becoming more environmentally sustainable. Two of those organizations are our tourism partners.
VICTORIA INN HOTEL AND CONVENTION CENTRE
The Victoria Inn Hotel and Convention Centre (www.vicinn.com) has implemented many energy saving initiatives to reduce their consumption of natural resources. In the kitchen area, a new hot water booster was installed, which reduces overall usage on the main boilers. A new high efficiency dishwasher was also installed and a proper servicing schedule has been developed to ensure proper efficiency of the unit is maintained. In the kitchen area, a second rational cook unit was installed replacing 4 outdated convection ovens. This area has also seen a cardboard bailer added and it has reduced cardboard pick up by 50%. In the banquet area, they have added stainless steel table tops and are no longer required to cover and skirt the buffet and display tables. This initiative has shown a reduction in the amount of laundry being processed, which has decreased water usage. In the laundry area, they have upgraded all the commercial washers and now operate 3 high efficiency units, which have reduced total wash cycle counts. There is also a program in place with their chemical supplier to ensure that exact measurements are used in their washing program. Rooms, within the hotel, have dual flush toilets which have shown a 20% reduction in water usage. Recycling containers and a towel wash program are also in place. They have also implemented a “green” team that engages both management and staff to work together to come up with ways to show ongoing environmental stewardship.
OLG CASINO THUNDER BAY
OLG Casino Thunder Bay (www.olg.ca) continues to demonstrate environmental stewardship within the community by continuing to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. A waste audit identified that OLG Casino Thunder Bay was recycling 74% of recyclable material, including 80 pounds of shrink wrap, 80 pounds of batteries, 1500 coffee trays and 1500 pounds of organic waste was vermicomposted. Take out containers, from its restaurant, are made of sustainable bamboo material and placed in a recyclable brown paper bag. Their annual use of bottled water has been reduced by 7,000 bottles and more than 27,000 decks of cards are recycled annually. Also, reusable float bags were purchased, eliminating the use of more than 52,000 plastic bags annually. OLG Casino Thunder Bay has a “green” team information board to educate staff of their commuter challenge, garbage free lunches, and “green” Christmas initiatives.
Congratulations to the Victoria Inn and OLG Casino Thunder Bay for raising the bar in environmental sustainability.
If you want to learn more about what your business can do to become more environmentally sustainable, Earthwise Thunder Bay has created a great tool kit to help you find the way. You can download it at: http://www.thunderbay.ca/Living/Environment/EarthWise_Thunder_Bay/Net-Zero_Guide_for_Business.htm