Skip to content

Airshed region receives provincial recognition

The Calgary Region Airshed Zone – which includes Banff, Canmore and the MD of Bighorn – received an award from the Alberta Emeral Foundation recently for work it does to monitor and educate people about air quality in the region.
20201002 Bow Vally Smoke 0189
Smoke from a prescribed fire in the Flint's/Stoney Meadows, in Banff National Park, drifts across Canmore and the Bow Valley on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. EVAN BUHLER RMO PHOTO

CALGARY – The Calgary Region Airshed Zone – which includes Banff, Canmore and the MD of Bighorn – was the recipient of the Alberta Emerald Foundation’s emerald award in the air category.

The foundation’s award recognizes the unique approach to environmental stewardship in addressing local, regional and global environmental and climate issues.

CRAZ was established in 2007 to provide air quality service for more than 25 municipalities, including the Bow Valley. The CRAZ region is home to more than 1.5 million residents.

“We need participation from industry because they have the ability to make a large and positive impact on the way we manage our clean air,” Jill Blood, the executive director of CRAZ said in a media release.

“The consistent presence from Lafarge has helped CRAZ continue to educate and inform the public about air quality and health impacts for the past 13 years. Celebrating this kind of collaboration is what will continue to build healthy and connected communities.

“It is an honour to be recognized for the hard work that all the members, volunteers and staff undertake to ensure the air we breathe is not harmful to us.”

The release noted the effect poor air quality can have on personal health, the environment and the economy.

Typically, air quality monitoring has only been an option for larger cities of 30,000 or more people, according to the Alberta Emerald Foundation website. The cost of an air quality station is more than $250,000 to set-up and another $72,000 a year in operating costs.

The CRAZ region has four stations operating, but the portable air monitoring laboratory program – which is running from 2018 to 2022 – offers air monitoring in the Bow Valley, the High River and Okotoks corridor and the Chestermere and Rocky View corridor.

The AEF’s website highlighted CRAZ will have 28 purple air sensors covering the region beginning this year. The data from the stations help monitor and provide real-time data to help inform residents of air quality.

“When we talk about our new sustainability strategy, air quality is an integral factor,” said Bob Spence, the vice president and general manager of southern Alberta and western Canada for Lafarge.

“We have been partners with CRAZ for 13 years and are proud of the legacy we have and continue to build from our anti-idling campaigns to transparent air monitoring programs.”