A new wood chip shelter was constructed this fall to house chips for the boiler serving the North Thompson Sportsplex. The shelter was built by OTL Construction and chips will be supplied by local contractor Max Gunster. The shelter will allow a six-month stock supply of chips. From l-r: TNRD Director A Carol Schaffer, DOC Mayor Merlin Blackwell, Marshall McRae of OTL Construction and Gunster of Max Gunster Contracting. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)

New chip shelter helps to keep energy costs low for District of Clearwater

After the Canfor mill shutdown in 2019, the District of Clearwater began the search for another supplier of wood chips for their biomass boiler. A contract was signed with a local contractor to supply the fuel over a three-year term.

A biomass boiler was installed at the Sportsplex in 2018 to reduce the cost of heating. The cost of heating with propane dropped over 65 per cent, from $42,850 in 2017 to $14,918 in 2019.

The new chip contract would also require a new shelter to cover the fuel. The DOC put out an advertisement and invitation to six contractors in August, and just one submitted a bid. OTL Construction won the bid, which included tree removal and site prep, installation of the gravel base, lock blocks and wood frame.

The funding for the structure came from the gas tax and Sportsplex reserves.