City of Powell River Council will consider allocating another $81,464 from the climate action reserve fund to cover additional costs for the Powell River Recreation Complex ice plant heat recovery project.
At the November 26 finance committee meeting, sustainability planner Ana Lukyanova said her presentation was for additional funding for the city’s portion of the project.
Lukyanova said she wanted to outline some of the projects being carried out at the recreation complex. She said in the spring of 2020, the thermal energy study was completed, and the outcome led to three recommendations. These include a heating system upgrade project that is currently in progress. The second was controls optimization, which was fully funded through BC Hydro, and is in progress. The third, the largest of the three, is the ice plant heat recovery project. Lukyanova said the city had applied for a Clean BC grant, which provides 75 per cent of the cost.
Lukyanova said the city had already approved funding of $483,000 from the community forest fund for the city’s portion of the project. She said since that time, engineers went into the recreation complex and did quite a bit of work on the heating system upgrade project.
“They did a more thorough review of the building,” said Lukyanova. “They really opened up the mechanical room and identified a few more pieces of aging equipment, which led to some of the increases over what council has already approved. We also asked them to review the ice plant heat recovery project.”
Lukyanova said as a result, a new estimate was prepared that came out 17 per cent higher than the initial estimate. What that means for the city’s portion is $81,464 more, she added.
“I want to emphasize that the business case, even with the cost increases we have seen, remain excellent,” said Lukyanova. She said the rate of return is 19 per cent, and the net gain over 10 years is $257,000, and over $907,000 in net gains over 20 years.
“The 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases emissions for the recreation complex is a really significant step toward carbon neutrality,” said Lukyanova. She added that the recreation complex is the single largest emissions source in the city’s corporate operations and accounts for about half of the total carbon footprint.
“I also want to emphasize that these business case numbers do not reflect the fact that a very large portion of the cost of this ice plant heat recovery project is building renewal cost,” said Lukyanova.
$500,000 of those upgrades are building renewal costs, which is the aging equipment at the recreation complex that needs to be replaced in the next five to 10 years even if this project wasn’t proceeding, she added.
Lukyanova said the recommendation was for council to allocate the $81,464 from the climate action reserve fund and direct staff to apply for the spring intake of the community forest grants to cover this additional amount. If this application was successful, it would replenish the climate action fund, which currently stands at $92,000.
Mayor Dave Formosa said Lukyanova’s report stated that engineers found this aging infrastructure. He asked if the city’s own people discovered this or whether the professional engineers the city is working with happened to look deeper.
“How did they find they missed this piece?” asked Formosa.
Lukyanova said the engineering company the city is working with, Prism Engineering, the project engineers for the heating system upgrade, had to go in and do detailed design, which is when they look at the system a lot more closely. This is when the additional work was discovered, she said.
Councillor Jim Palm said an outstanding job of renewing the recreation complex is being done and is long overdue. He said when the heating or cooling system is operating, it is difficult to hear conversation going on in the room. He asked if the upgrades would help address that problem.
Lukyanova said part of the renewal is the replacement of the fans in the air handlers and her guess is the old fans would be generating noise.
Palm said he appreciated all of the work Lukyanova is doing in this regard.
“I’m very pleased to see in the report that the community forest has already been approached about the extra funds,” said Palm. “Thank you and the community forest for putting these resources we have in our city to start the rebuild.”
The matter will go to council for a decision on the expenditure of the extra funds on December 3.