The District of
Squamish (DOS) approved a staff recommendation to develop a memorandum of
understanding (MOU) with Lonsdale Energy Corporation (LEC), the publicly owned
North Vancouver utility that heads up that city's district energy program.
"The notion is simply to explore an MOU and bring it back
to council," said deputy administrator Brent Leigh during Tuesday's
The MOU aims to examine "the feasibility of creating a
neighbourhood energy utility." The recommendation also called for a task
team to propel related work. The team would be composed of one councillor, an
external consultant and two staff members.
District or neighbourhood energy systems involve a system of
pipes travelling between a cluster of buildings and carrying water heated by
boilers, which use a variety of fuel options, from geothermal to gas. DOS has
been steadily working towards introducing the systems for high-density
developments about to come on stream, such as the Waterfront Landing or the new
Councillor Corinne Lonsdale flagged Leigh's interest in LEC,
saying a host of other companies must be in operation that could provide
similar services to DOS.
"You've singled out one specific company, and I need to
understand why there isn't someone out there who could offer us something
Leigh pointed to the nature of LEC's existence, favouring the
publicly owned nature of the company, as well as its proximity to Squamish and
expertise in the field.
"There are other companies that do what Lonsdale
does," he said, "but only to a point."
Councillor Greg Gardner expressed concern over the idea of an
MOU, saying such documents are usually the introductory gestures of a business
transaction. Perhaps, he continued, the time is not right for such a
Backed up by DOS planner Sabina FooFat, who heads up the
district's energy strategy, Leigh explained the essence of timing, especially
given that the Waterfront Landing project is looking for a fall start up.
"I think there's an opportunity here," said
Councillor Patricia Heintzman. "There's a window. There's a door open, and
we should take it. Obviously, Waterfront Landing is the biggest development
this town has ever seen. They're between third and fourth reading, and so if
anything's going to happen, it's going to happen now."
LEC, she added, is the best choice given the timing.
Lonsdale remained unconvinced. In what seemed like an appeal to
Heintzman, long a proponent of requiring the installation of water meters and
low flush toilets, Lonsdale said the task team could split staff time at the
expense of other projects. She mentioned metering specifically.
The recommendation was unanimously approved.