PORT HARDY—School District 85 last week was granted $150,000 from the provincial government’s Carbon Neutral Capital Program (CNCP). And the SD85 Board of Trustees wasted no time taking advantage of the windfall.
During their regular monthly meeting Monday, trustees quickly gave three readings to a capital project bylaw that will apply that funding to a new heating system at North Island Secondary School in Port Hardy.
The $1.5 million project will include a partnership with the Regional District of Mount Waddington. A circulating system will convert waste heat at RDMW-operated Chilton Regional Arena into usable heat at the school while saving both groups money on long-term energy costs.
“This is very timely, very helpful,” SD85 treasurer John Martin told trustees. “I think the ministry like the look of our project, felt it was a good project, and wanted to support it. We’re really pleased with this announcment.”
The Ministry of Education singled out the NISS project in its announcment of $5 million in CNCP funds distributed to 45 districts province-wide.
“Instead of relying on electricity as their main source of heat year-round, heat will be extracted from the arena from September to April, thereby reducing the school’s power consumption significantly during the coldest months,” the ministry announced in a release Mar. 4. “This partnership will also help the community’s ice rink refrigeration system operate more efficiently in the future.”
Final approval of Capital Project Bylaw 126733 is expected at next month’s board meeting. Martin said requests for proposal (RFP) would be sent out in April and, ideally, work would begin in June.
Meanwhile, the RDMW board of directors is expected to vote on its own capital expenditure at its regular meeting next Tuesday, when its 2014 budget is finalized.
If approved, the regional district would replace the arena’s propane-fired dehumidifier system with a heat pump, eliminating a $25,000-a-year propane bill. Heat recovery units will draw off excess heat from the compressor room and feed it into an underground pipe system that will run it to nearby NISS.
“The interim plan is, we’ll proceed as soon as possible after ice goes out,” RDMW administrator Greg Fletcher said. “We’re hoping to have our part done by the time summer ice goes in (the last week of June). We’ll wait on the loop installation until the school district goes ahead with its project.”
Eventually, Fletcher said, the Town of Port McNeill is expected to come on as a third partner, with valves allowing heat from the arena’s summer season to be re-directed to the town swimming pool, which is located between the arena and the school.
Fletcher added the new system will also supply heat to the arena’s non-rink areas, including the lobby, locker rooms and upstairs offices.