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Trust will provide $900,000 through its new Energy Retrofit Program

Columbia Basin Trust provides $900,000 this year through its new Energy Retrofit Program

Two housing complexes in Trail and one in Fruitvale will become greener this year – in terms of energy, not colour.

Thirty three units in Silver City Gardens and 35 Jubilee Manor units will benefit from an influx of $31,500 and $24,200 respectively from Columbia Basin Trust (Trust) through a new venture called the Energy Retrofit Program.

Likewise, $9,000 will be used to improve efficiency in 24 units at Beaver Manor Lodge.

Earlier this year, the Trust announced the new $2-million program aimed to help provide energy conservation upgrades for affordable housing in the Basin.

Twenty-five buildings in the region, including the three local complexes, form the Trust’s first $900,000 intake – the second grant intake will be in early 2018.

Locally, the funding was granted through the Canadian Mental Health Association for the Kootenays, the Trail Elderly Citizens Housing Project and the Beaver Valley Manor Society.

A total of 17 non-profit Basin societies received support for energy retrofits ranging from extra insulation to new HVAC (heating, ventilating and air-conditioning) systems. Grants vary from a few thousand dollars to just over $100,000 and will help improve the sustainability of over 500 affordable housing units located in 13 Basin communities.

“Non-profit housing organizations in the Basin approached us for help with energy retrofits, and that was the origin of this new program,” said Mark Brunton, Columbia Basin Trust Manager, Housing. “They followed through with good projects that demonstrate a real interest in making affordable housing properties more energy efficient and sustainable, and more comfortable for their residents.”

The Trust is working with the BC Non-Profit Housing Association and BC Housing to deliver the program.

Cranbrook’s Aqanttanam Housing Society is one of the grant recipients. It provides safe, clean affordable housing to low-income families, primarily of native ancestry. The 18 townhouse units in its Claydon Villa have high tenant utility bills. To help reduce these costs and improve energy efficiency, the society will complete energy upgrades, including insulating the outside basement walls and installing energy-efficient lighting.

“With energy costs rising, this grant will enable us to make improvements, therefore reducing energy costs for our low-income tenants,” said Austin Parisien, Society Executive Director.

In Fernie, the Tom Uphill Manor provides 27 affordable housing units for seniors and people with disabilities. The Fernie Family Housing Society will make the manor more energy efficient, comfortable and cost effective by replacing two aging boilers and improving the HVAC system.