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Substantial energy-efficiency upgrades coming to Nelson Civic Centre

The Nelson Daily Staff
By The Nelson Daily Staff
August 4th, 2022

The Civic Centre building in Nelson is a facility that was built during the Great Depression.

More than 80 years later, again during uncertain times, governments from the federal, provincial and municipal level have come together to invest in a substantial upgrade to improve energy efficiency, decrease climate pollution and improve the comfort and lifespan of the heritage building.

Through an investment from the CleanBC Communities Fund, the Civic Centre's auditorium will receive energy-efficient upgrades to the building envelope, roof, windows, doors and mechanical systems.

Currently, the facility's concrete walls have no insulation, the roof structure has minimal insulation, and the air-handling units are outdated, providing air circulation to only some areas of the building.

To complete the upgrade, the City of Nelson is providing $1.4 million, the Provincial Government $2.82 million and the Federal Government $1 million.

"The Civic Centre building is a valued cultural and recreational facility that has served our regional community well for almost 90 years since it opened in 1935," said Nelson Mayor John Dooley.

"This project will substantially improve the comfort and accessibility of the building, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Improving the energy performance of our buildings is a key component of NelsonNext, our ambitious climate action plan."

The building's exterior walls will be enveloped with an insulated, high-efficiency skin that will reduce energy requirements and protect deteriorating concrete from freeze-thaw cycles.

Energy-recovery ventilators and a heat-recovery chiller will provide heating and cooling capacity, reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

"We're working to improve an important community resource by making it more energy efficient and a better, more comfortable space for visitors," said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, who made a special trip to the Heritage City for the announcement.

"The Civic Centre is the city of Nelson's highest-emitting building and requires a significant energy retrofit to bring it to a modern standard.

“By working with the city and the federal government, we're accelerating the shift away from fossil fuels toward a net-zero-emissions future and supporting local jobs in the clean economy."

Upgrading the 87-year-old heritage building is expected to reduce its natural gas consumption and carbon emissions by approximately two-thirds.  

"People in Nelson know what an incredible community resource the Civic Centre is, and we're working to make it even better and more environmentally and climate friendly," said Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston.

Anderson, in her first term as MLA, has been working diligently to secure funding for projects in the Nelson-Creston riding.

"Funding this project will provide multiple benefits to our region and the people who enjoy the Civic Centre and the surrounding neighbourhood,” Anderson added.

“Not only will it extend the life of the building and reduce its carbon footprint, it will boost the local economy by providing good jobs for people."

The CleanBC Communities Fund is part of the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, the Province's plan to expand and accelerate climate action by building on B.C.'s natural advantages — abundant and clean electricity, innovative technology and a highly skilled workforce.

The Fund sets a path for increased collaboration to build a British Columbia that works for everyone.

Quick Facts:

  • The CleanBC Communities Fund is a partnership with the federal government through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
  • The Province and the federal government have committed as much as $240 million of combined investment into the fund over three rounds.
  • The Nelson Civic Centre upgrade project is part of the second round of low-carbon infrastructure projects.
  • Upgrades to the Nelson Civic Centre are expected to begin in 2023 and take two years to complete.

Government officials from the province and City of Nelson were joined by local groups Thursday morning outside the Civic Centre on Vernon Street to unveil the $5 Million upgrade to the 87-year-old building. — The Nelson Daily photo

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