The District of Clearwater (DOC) won the Southern Interior Local Government Association’s (SILGA) Community Excellence award for Environmental Sustainability recently, for its many green initiatives, including the DOC’s biomass project.
“I think it’s really great,” said Leslie Groulx, Cheif Administrative Officer for the DOC, about winning the award.
“It’s a good thing for the district because that’s one of the things council has been focusing on, environmental sustainability, so things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint and those two bioenergy systems were certainly a good start.”
According to its submission to SILGA, the DOC signed the Climate Action Charter with British Columbia in 2008, adopted greenhouse gas reduction policy in the Official Community Plan, completed a Community Energy Emission Plan in 2012, and in partnership with Wood Waste 2 Heat Rural Heat, commissioned a business case analysis for a biomass heating system for the Dutch Lake Community Centre (DLCC).
The DOC also focused on several initiatives, with the intent to reduce energy costs, its carbon footprint and lessen the tax burden. One initiative the DOC is particularly proud of is the installation of two biomass energy systems—one at the DLCC (municipal hall) and one at the North Thompson Sportsplex. Both facilities had substantial energy costs, but through unique partnerships and utilizing wood waste the first system was installed and operational in 2015, with the second project operational in 2018.
“For example, when we moved into the DLCC it was about $40,000 a year for propane, but now with the bioenergy system we installed, which is a wood chips burner, we’re down to like $3,000 a year,” said Groulx.
“We had a 96 per cent savings last year and we absorb the surplus funds into other departments so we don’t have to increase taxes as much; it’s very exciting and good to be recognized as a community for being a leader, especially because we’re a small community.”