Nanaimo school district swaps carbon-saving projects

NANAIMO – A proposal to use a new sewer line to heat a school is not going forward this year, but a boiler upgrade at another school will.

A proposal to use a new sewer line to heat a school is not going forward this year as hoped, but a boiler upgrade at another school will happen in its place.

Nanaimo school district hopes to capture heat from a new sewer line the Regional District of Nanaimo plans to install next to Hammond Bay Elementary School to heat the school and had secured $312,500 from the province through the Carbon Neutral Capital Program to complete the project.

However, the regional district is not installing the line this summer as hoped and the district asked that another project – a boiler upgrade project at McGirr Elementary School – be approved in its place.

The province agreed and the school board approved a capital project bylaw to complete the work at its board meeting last month.

Pete Sabo, the district’s director of planning and operations, said the Carbon Neutral Capital Program grant needed to be spent by March 31, so the district decided it would be wise to move forward with another project.

The McGirr boiler upgrade is expected to cost almost $220,000 and reduce carbon emissions by about 15.7 tonnes per year and save the district about $4,500 annually.

Sabo said the province told the district that it can re-apply to do the Hammond Bay project another year.