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Community Update: Anchoring Peterborough’s cleantech innovation corridor – Cleantech Commons continues to show strong progress

We reported in our last “Community Update” on the significant progress being made in providing municipal services to Cleantech Commons, the cleantech research park currently under development on Trent University’s East Bank. You can read that report here!

In today’s Cleantech Commons Community Update, we are pleased to share a more recent “bird’s eye view” of the servicing activities at Cleantech Commons – courtesy of our friend Justen Soule of Visual Endeavour Corporation.


The current activities at Cleantech Commons focus on the provision of municipal services to the research park, which, when complete, will anchor Peterborough’s emerging cleantech innovation corridor.

Once internal servicing is complete, Cleantech Commons will be ready to accept its first tenants, helping to turn the vision of creating Canada’s premier cleantech research and innovation park into reality. (Please review “Tenant Criteria for Cleantech Commons” here!)

Since our last report to the community, the Phase 1 stormwater pond – designed to reduce flood risk, prevent erosion in neighbouring creeks, and improve the quality of water discharging to the natural environment – has been fully excavated and the outlet structure completed.

Excavating the Phase 1 stormwater pond.

Progress has also been made:

  • Completing the easement access road.
  • Installing “mud mats“: to keep the adjoining Pioneer Road free of mud and debris.
  • Installing sanitary sewer connections.
  • Mobilizing for the installation of the water mains.




Cleantech Commons: An engine of growth for clean technologies

Cleantech Commons is designed to host a cluster of growth companies, spin-out & startup ventures, and corporate accelerators & “innovation outposts”: a community of clean, green & low-/ zero-carbon energy, environment and climate technology innovators & entrepreneurs – all co-located with the academic & research expertise of Trent University and enhanced by the presence at Cleantech Commons of value-adding business support & incubation/ acceleration services.

Working with Trent University’s chemistry department, Carbonix, an emerging First Nation technology company, has developed a proprietary environmentally-friendly process to manufacture customizable and lower cost activated carbon using sustainably sourced feedstocks. Their proprietary process can convert large amounts of petroleum coke and boiler char – previously considered waste byproducts – into activated carbon.

Clusters help develop new & existing companies through innovation and contribute to economic growth & job creation.

The businesses and research laboratories located at Cleantech Commons will help to significantly advance energy, environment and climate innovations that have both national and global impact.

Designed to tap into the region’s growing cleantech innovation ecosystem, Cleantech Commons will provide companies with access to the facilities, resources, knowledge, expertise and mentorship they require to:

  • Develop solutions that help reduce greenhouse gases,
  • Promote the use of renewable resources,
  • Contribute to a low carbon economy,
  • Reduce waste,
  • Develop new environmental remediation approaches and
  • Commercialize clean and green processes and products.


Location of Cleantech Commons

Offering a picturesque location adjacent to the main campus of Trent University on the banks of the Otonabee River, Cleantech Commons affords access to some 1,400 acres of land and over 30 kilometres of nature trails. Trent University boasts one of Canada’s most picturesque campuses.

Offering a picturesque location adjacent to the main campus of Trent University, Cleantech Commons is designed to be a point of convergence for academic and industry partners driving innovation in clean, green & low-carbon technologies, water technologies, contaminant analysis, agro-biotechnology and biomaterials.

With approximately 1,400 acres of land situated on the banks of Otonabee River and over 30 kilometres of nature trails, Trent University boasts one of Canada’s most picturesque university campuses.

The combination of lush forest, drumlins, streams and open fields provides a unique learning and recreational environment that is used by students, faculty and staff and is fully accessible to members of the Cleantech Commons community.

Tenancy at Cleantech Commons

Tenants at Cleantech Commons will have access to Trent University’s researchers, students and facilities, including the Trent School of the Environment, Water Quality Centre, Trent Centre for Biomaterials Research, and the Inorganic Materials Research Laboratory.

Tenants at Cleantech Commons will have access to neighbouring Trent University’s researchers, students and facilities, including the Trent School of the Environment, Water Quality Centre, Trent Centre for Biomaterials Research, and the Inorganic Materials Research Laboratory.

Already, a number of future Cleantech Commons tenants are working with Trent researchers and faculty on various collaborative research initiatives.

Trent’s exceptional learning environment and academic performance have earned the University a ranking among the world’s best.

In the 2020/21 Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) Trent is ranked at number 32 out of 96 Canadian universities while placing 1,237 out of over 20,000 global institutions, up nine places from last year’s 1,248 place ranking and earning Trent a spot in the top 6.2% of universities worldwide.

In 2019 Trent built on its strong reputation as an environmental leader, ranking number five in Canada in the annual “UI GreenMetric World University Ranking”. (See: Cleantech Commons contributes to Trent’s improved Sustainability Ranking.)

Positioning Peterborough as a “leader and cutting edge community”

Cleantech Commons will build on this outstanding legacy – and will help position Peterborough as a “leader and cutting edge community” when it comes to building “a more sustainable and green future“, says Mayor Diane Therrien. (See: Cleantech Commons positions Peterborough as “a leader and cutting edge community”.)

This will include:

  • Offering experiential learning for students
  • Creating spaces for the incubation and acceleration of student research
  • Providing commercialization support for student & faculty startup & spinout ventures.


Environmental Considerations

In advance of beginning the internal servicing, the City of Peterborough worked with and gained approvals from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Otonabee Region Conservation Authority on aspects such as natural heritage, groundwater conditions, tree preservation, stormwater management, species at risk and other environmental considerations. (A full list of studies is available to view at the City of Peterborough’s project site.)

Comprehensive environmental protection features, including erosion and sediment controls, were installed prior to construction.

Installing environmental protection features, including erosion and sediment controls.

As Cleantech Commons is located adjacent to the Nassau Wetland Complex, Otonabee Conservation directed and reviewed environmental studies to determine the appropriate setbacks required to protect these important natural systems on the Trent campus.

Otonabee Conservation is continuously monitoring all environmental controls at the research park, while Trent has engaged an independent environmental consultant to monitor the adjacent wetland to ensure its continued health.

Over the past few months of construction, comprehensive environmental protection features such as erosion and sediment controls, to prevent sediment from washing off-site and into ditches, streams, watercourses or storm sewers, have been installed.

The master plan for Cleantech Commons includes sustainable design elements such as low-impact development standards for stormwater management. View Our Master Plan [20MB PDF]

Cleantech Commons tenants will also be required to commit to sustainable site design, green building principles, and environmentally friendly operations.