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Posted: February 12, 2013

Sparwood Arena and Curling Rink getting major upgrade

Project will improve the heating system, reduce GHGs and cut operating costs

The Sparwood Arena and Curling Club will soon benefit from an energy retrofit to replace an aging and inefficient heating system.

This project will receive $757,752 from the Government of Canada through the Gas Tax Fund transfer.

“Building clean energy infrastructure is an investment in the economic prosperity and long-term sustainability of Sparwood,” said David Wilks, Member of Parliament for Kootenay—Columbia.

“Our government is proud to be a partner in this environmentally friendly initiative that will create jobs, strengthen the local economy and support the growing needs of the community,” stated Wilks, a Sparwood resident, during a brief ceremony at the arena Friday morning (Feb. 8). “It’s good for Sparwood and good for the Elk Valley.”

This innovative project will replace six natural gas furnaces and two natural gas hot water heaters with a high efficiency heating system. The new system will use high efficiency heat pumps to capture the waste heat and distribute it to the facility. The retrofit will also include the installation of high efficiency natural gas boilers and a solar ambient heating system.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the facility will be reduced and annual energy consumption will decrease. The total cost of the project is $869,752, with the balance funded by the District of Sparwood.

“The Arena and Curling Club retrofit is vital to helping Sparwood reach its GHG emission reduction target of two tonnes per capita by 2020,” said Sparwood Mayor Lois Halko. “This work will be a major enhancement to the operation of our facilities.”

“Aging infrastructure generally means higher operational costs for communities, so projects that improve efficiency are a good investment,” said Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) President and City of Quesnel Mayor Mary Sjostrom. “Recreational centres are the heart of our communities, so I am glad to see these improvements coming to Sparwood’s arena.”

Attending the ceremony on Sjostrom’s behalf was RDEK Electoral Area B director Heath Slee, the current past-president of the UBCM. He noted projects such as this, where all levels of government get together to help make something happen, show what can be done.

“We need all levels of government working together. It translates into better communities for B.C.,” he said.

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has made unprecedented investments in infrastructure. Through the Gas Tax Fund alone, municipalities across the country have received over $10 billion in transfers for local priority initiatives. Making this fund permanent at $2 billion annually was part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan – a plan to help create good jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity.

Between 2007 and 2014, British Columbia will receive more than $1.48 billion from the Gas Tax Fund to improve local infrastructure. The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) administers the Gas Tax Fund in British Columbia, in collaboration with Canada and British Columbia.

Kootenay East MLA and Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Bill Bennett hailed the federal government for its Gas Tax Fund.

“The money goes to very, very positive projects,” he said, adding the “Elk Valley did very well in this round of the gas tax.”

Last week West Fernie received $5.4 million to help tie its water and sewer into the City of Fernie, paving the way for what is believed will be an eventual inclusion of the Electoral Area A community into the city fold.

For additional information about federal investments in infrastructure and to stay up-to-date with Web feeds, visit

To find out what the Government of Canada is doing to promote jobs, growth and prosperity, visit

Above photo: Sparwood council members pose with Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett, RDEK Electoral Area B director Heath Slee, representing the UBCM, and MP David Wilks during a Feb. 8 ceremony at the Sparwood Leisure Centre.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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