The District of Sicamous is investigating ways to harness waste wood as a clean heat source for several buildings. The Sicamous and District Rec Centre is one of them (File photo)

District of Sicamous and Federal government come to terms on biomass heater grant

Once completed the project could heat arena elementary school and more using wood waste

The District of Sicamous is looking to turn forest fuels into a modern heating solution.

At their Jan. 16 meeting, district council agreed to include $500,000 in the budget to help this vision become reality.

The district initially applied for federal funding that would cover half the cost of a bio-fuel heating system – a large boiler that would generate heat for nearby buildings by burning wood waste.

The feds eventually agreed to fund $1.2 million of the $1.7 million project, but the funds are conditional on the district coming up with the remaining $500,000. Council passed a resolution at the Jan. 16 meeting to include the $500,000 commitment in the district’s 2019 financial plan.

The boiler, which will be ordered if Sicamous receives the grant funding, would be installed between the Sicamous and District Recreation Centre and Parkview Elementary. Once operational, it could provide heat to the school and arena, as well as the nearby curling club, strip mall and other buildings.

Coun. Malcolm Makayev asked where the half-a-million dollars would come from.

Related:Sicamous takes a look at wood-waste energy

Town manager Evan Parliament replied district staff intend to apply for a second grant, this one through a provincial government program, to offset the costs incurred by contributing to the boiler project. Parliament said the provincial grant could also fund a second wood-waste boiler to generate heat and possibly also electricity for buildings in Sicamous’ industrial area.

Makayev inquired about the negative financial implications the district would be exposed to if they do not receive the second grant. Parliament said the risks are minimal; if the district is unable to come up with the $500,000 through the grant, or other sources such as reserves and borrowing when it comes time to order the boiler, then the project can simply be postponed or abandoned completely.

“It’s just a tool to move forward,” said Mayor Terry Rysz of the $500,000 commitment.

The motion approving the financial commitment was approved unanimously.

Related:Sicamous considered at for natural gas service

As Sicamous does not have natural gas lines running to it, buildings in the district primarily rely on propane and electricity for heating. A wood-waste burning boiler could conceivably reduce heating costs for nearby buildings, particularly if it was fueled by waste wood from the community forest project proposed for the area or other nearby forestry operations.

According to a consultant’s report on the project, comissioned by the district in 2018, the rec centre alone spends $40,000 per year on propane and $60,000 on electricity. Savings would also be welcome for Parkview Elementary, which costs School District #83 $10,000 in propane annually to heat.

The school district expressed their support for the project in a letter which the District of Sicamous will include in their grant application.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm pickleball club’s request for defibrillator will go to city budget

City council decides to forward request for Klahani Park to 2021 budget deliberations

RCMP looking for witnesses to man punching woman in head in North Shuswap

Incident occurred July 15 on Squilax Anglemont Road

Chase RCMP report man pepper-sprayed while inquiring about paddle boards

Victim suspected two people stopped in North Shuswap in the early morning hours were thieves

Solution wanted for poor cellular service in Salmon Arm Industrial Park

Economic development society says spotty service negatively impacting sales potential

Debris from flooding prompts concern around Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail

Resident says long-term plan needed for popular public pathway

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

No new COVID-19 cases in Kelowna over the weekend

Kelowna has nine of the Interior Health region’s 13 active cases

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

West Kelowna woman upset with RCMP response to street brawl

A physical altercation between a group of teens and a group of adults erupted on a West Kelowna street Sunday evening

Kelowna real estate agent fined $6,500 for ‘misleading’ website

The website listed several services its owner was not licensed to provide

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Most Read