Grant could be saviour for ice plant retrofit

Bashaw hoping approval will be big step toward fixing up facility’s freezing system

With the phase-out of the refrigerant being used by Bashaw’s hockey and curling facility looming, council is starting on a journey to see how it can be addressed.

At its June 6 meeting, council approved moving forward with a grant application that would help pay for work on the ice plant that will be necessary due to the freon used in Bashaw no longer being produced as of the end of this year.

While that won’t immediately make the ice plant unusable, it does mean it will be very difficult to access the product and that’s why Bashaw is being proactive in trying to get ahead of the game.

CAO Theresa Fuller explained administration has been directed to apply for the funding under the Recreation Energy Conservation (REC) Program to replace the ice plant system.

The grant is administered by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre — a partnership between the Alberta government and the province’s two associations that represent urban and rural municipalities.

“Council has been scratching its head about what to do since we first heard last year that the freon used in our system will no longer be available,” Fuller said.

“This debate centred around whether to proceed in going after the grant or whatever else council would prefer to do.”

In the end, council chose to apply under REC’s scoping audit grant that would provide a maximum of $10,000 for a study designed to identify possible cost-savings and greenhouse gas reductions for the project. The audit is also meant to provide a basic understanding of energy savings for the project as well as help set priorities, which could be used if the project applies for the REC implementation grant.

MSI funding

While the 2019 Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) operating grant funds likely won’t be made available until the province passes its budget this fall, but council needed to approve the allocation of these funds in order to complete the application.

Based upon previous allocations, Bashaw is expecting about $61,500 this year with a 2018 carryover of just over $960.

Council had approved in the 2019 budget allocations to an upgrade of software for administration operations ($7,000), funds for Bashaw ($8,500) and Parkland Regional library ($6,850) budgets, Bashaw Bus Society ($5,000) operating funds, water meter replacement ($13,440), new breathing apparatus for the Bashaw Fire Department ($5,000) and three recreation projects (batting cage donation $2,000; arena exhaust fans $2,000; arena accessibility window $1,500).

However, there was one change made to what was in the budget, due to a health and safety requirement at the arena. An inspection done in April found freon and propane sensors needed to be installed, which will cost $11,000.

Those funds were originally going to be used to increase funding to a pair of local organizations.

Settling down

The second phase of the 54 Ave. reconstruction project has hit the halfway mark, as construction crews completed all of the underground work and rebuilding for the roadbed last week.

“Everything seemed to go according to the plan,” Fuller said, adding the road will now be allowed to settle before paving is done next year.

The only hiccup was a water line valve that began to leak, and was replaced, after the water was turned back on following the replacement of a fire hydrant.

One other positive project that is now complete was the annual cemetery cleanup conducted May 31, which Fuller stated went very well with a great turnout of volunteers.

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