Nakusp council, March 8: Biomass project study commissioned

·3 min read

Boosting biomass

Council is going to spend $22,500 to boost its arguments for an alternative-energy system in the community to heat public buildings.

Council voted to enter into an agreement with Urban Systems for strategic and technical services relating to the biomass project.

The biomass project would see a high-tech boiler installed near the arena to burn locally created wood waste to generate heat.

The Village was unsuccessful in securing grant funding for the biomass project through the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program earlier this year, after consultants for a funding agency said the Village’s numbers on the project’s benefits didn’t add up. While that set back the project, it’s still a council favourite, and they’re not giving up on it. Instead, they’ve contracted Urban Systems to prepare an energy model and system layout, a financial model for the system, and to build support locally and develop a grant/financial strategy.

Urban Systems will complete the project in three months.

“The key outcome from this project will be strong supporting documentation to accompany grant applications to help secure funding for constructing a biomass energy system at the arena,” says the report.

Meanwhile, Councillor Ken Miller indicated the Arrow Lakes Hospital might soon be seeing a dramatic increase in its energy billing, and that might make them a possible partner in the biomass project. While it’s a long way from a notion to reality, councillors were interested in the idea of another ‘anchor’ user for the system.

The Village still has one grant application submitted for constructing the biomass energy system at the arena through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP). The funding decision for the grant is expected in late spring.

Development fees to rise

It’s going to cost potential developers in the village a little more if they want to build a subdivision in the community.

Council approved a staff recommendation to charge planning services costs to the developer for large subdivision applications.

Council’s been looking at having the RDCK’s staff handle planning services for the community, as the job is getting too big for the tiny staff. But the RDCK has advised it can’t do that, at least for the time being.

Instead, RDCK officials recommended the services of Urban Systems – the company’s second name-drop at the meeting. Council passed a motion endorsing the new fees and charges amendments, which paves the way for the use of an external planning service.

Box Lake review

Residents of the Box Lake area have expressed concern online about the Nakusp and Area Community Forest company’s plans to do some forest clearing for FireSmart purposes in their local watershed. Councillor Aiden McLaren-Caux, also a member of NACFOR’s board, invited councillors to a field trip to the Box Mountain watershed “so people can have on on-site view of what the plan is for the wildfire prescription” in that area.

More NACFOR grants

Nakusp isn’t the only town to benefit from having a community-owned forestry operation in the region. Council approved two grants to outlying communities that also host NACFOR operations.

Under the NACFOR Legacy Fund bylaw, one-quarter of the money NACFOR sets aside in the Legacy Fund has to be used in the corridor from Arrow Park south to Edgewood.

Accordingly, the Burton Community Association is going to receive $15,000, while the Arrow Park community association will get $4,500.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice