The Village of Granisle has won an award for its ecologically-friendly efforts to heat local buildings.
The 2019 Climate and Energy Action Award was presented to Granisle mayor Linda McGuire at a town hall meeting on Oct. 16 by Janice Keyes, Senior Manager with the Vancouver-based Community Energy Association (CEA).
Granisle won the accolade in the corporate operations category for its biomass heating system that burns locally-sourced wood chips to heat seven buildings including the curling rink, the civic hall and the library. It has also partnered with the school district to sell heat to the Babine Elementary Secondary School.
“[The system] decreases the use of propane and electricity in the buildings and in the school. And the bioenergy system has allowed the village to generate revenue to offset operational costs by selling the service to the school and also within the corporate operations the village has been able to reach carbon neutrality, which most B.C. communities are striving to do, but many are struggling to do that. That’s a very important highlight and something you should be very proud of,” Keyes told the meeting.
The biomass system was commissioned in the fall of 2016 and the village began generating revenue from supplying heat to the school in December of that year, said mayor Linda McGuire.
“We were really excited to be recognized in the corporate category so quickly after commissioning our system. It shows even small communities can [make an] impact and make a difference with climate change,” McGuire added.
The CEA representative also commended Granisle for its signing on to the B.C. Climate Action Charter through which signatories pledge to work towards becoming carbon neutral; and for joining the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program that comprises 350 Canadian communities striving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We’ve seen Granisle advance through the partners for climate protection program. It’s a five-milestone program and a year and half ago the village was awarded Milestone 4 for corporate and community out of five milestones,” Keyes said. The fourth milestone is “implement the Local Action Plan,” according to the PCP website.
Last but not least, CEA recognized Granisle’s application to the Charge North program for a grant to receive a Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charge station.
Burns Lake agreed in February to contribute $5,000 towards a CEA grant for a Level 2 charger.
As part of the award, Granisle was given complimentary membership in the CEA and the regular $2,500 annual fee to join was waived.
The village will be profiled in Municipal World magazine in its Dec. 19 issue.
The other winners for 2019 include the City of Surrey in the climate adaptation category for its Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy and the City of Richmond in the community development category for its EV charging infrastructure requirements leadership.
The Climate and Action Energy Award is co-sponsored by the province of B.C., the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, BC Hydro, FortisBC and the Real Estate Foundation of BC.
CEA has been operating the awards program since 2012.