July 23rd, 2019

Rec facilities can receive energy efficiency funds

By Kalinowski, Tim on March 15, 2019.

Lethbridge Herald

The Government of Alberta is providing $9 million under the Climate Leadership Plan to help municipalities cut energy costs and emissions by upgrading their recreation facilities with energy-efficient technology. The Recreation Energy Conservation Program provides up to $750,000 per municipality, and all municipalities in Alberta are eligible to participate.

“Whether it’s for hockey practice or swim class, nothing is more Albertan than taking a trip to the community centre,” Environment and Parks Minster Shannon Phillips stated while announcing the grant program on Thursday. “By helping facilities make energy-efficiency upgrades, municipalities will save money and reduce their emissions, and people will notice the changes when they visit with their families. This program will have a big impact in communities across Alberta.”

In addition to buying energy-efficient technology, municipalities can use the funding for scoping audits and engineering studies. A variety of municipally owned facilities qualify for funding, including ice arenas, aquatic centres, community recreation centres and multiplexes.

Mayor Chris Spearman welcomed news of the province’s Recreation Energy Conservation Program.

“As a city, we are always looking for ways to be more energy efficient in our community facilities,” he stated. “With the announcement of this provincial funding program, it will allow us to seek those opportunities to do things in a greener and less financially cumbersome way.”

The City of Lethbridge may also be eligible to apply for additional energy savings through the Government of Alberta’s Electric Vehicles for Municipalities program. The Municipal Climate Change Action Centre is accepting submissions of interest for the program, which is offering $4.6 million to help municipalities transition to electric vehicles. Project submissions under the Electric Vehicles for Municipalities program can include funding for both battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging stations and equipment, and electric vehicle feasibility studies.

The City of Lethbridge recently received $8.2 million from the Alberta Community Transit Fund to purchase seven new electric buses and a solar power charging unit for them. It is not clear whether or not the City might also be able to apply for additional funds through the Electric Vehicles for Municipalities program.

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