Joe McCulloch, the Operations Manager for the District of Sicamous, speaks to the School District 83 Board of Education about a bio-heat program for which they are seeking funds. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

SD#83 warms to Sicamous bio-heat project

Proposed wood-waste boiler could provide school with heating alternative to propane

School District #83 was quick to warm to a project that aims to bring wood-waste powered heating to a core area of Sicamous.

The District of Sicamous is in the process of applying for money to help construct a boiler system that would utilize biomass to heat the local recreation centre, businesses as well as Parkview Elementary.

In the spring of 2017, the District of Sicamous commissioned Urban Systems, an engineering, environmental science and urban design firm, to investigate the feasibility of bringing a community renewable energy source to the district. In April of 2018 the district began seeking federal funding and support for the project.

The proposal to apply for a federal bio-heat grant received support from School District 83 during the Dec. 18 school board meeting at the District Education Support Centre in Salmon Arm.

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

“This is a very exciting opportunity for the District of Sicamous,” commented Joe McCulloch, operations manager for the District of Sicamous, to the school board in a presentation asking for the board’s support. “There is no natural gas in our area and the cost of electricity is very high.”

(The federal government has since committed $1.2 million towards the $1.7 million project. The school board’s support will continue to help the district as it now applies for provincial funding.)

Related: Sicamous takes a look at wood-waste energy

McCulloch added the district has identified a small nucleus which could initially be supplied by the project, in which Parkview, a strip mall, the recreation centre, curling rink, a hardware store and other businesses are located.

After reading through the supplied materials and hearing from McCulloch, a motion was made to write a letter to the District of Sicamous in support of its grant application to Natural Resources Canada for advancement of a biomass heating project for the District of Sicamous. In the letter, the board expressed an interest in understanding how the bio-energy program could benefit the local schools and reduce both its carbon use and save money on fuel and heating bills.



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