Skidegate heat pump project off to hot start

  • Aug. 5, 2015 9:00 a.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverSkidegate Band Council hosted a meet and greet for the community July 16 to thank the funders of the Heat Pump Project, an initiative that will have a profound impact on the lives of Elders, and eventually the entire community.Heat pumps are a highly efficient and environmentally-friendly heating source-two factors that convinced the Skidegate Band Council to retrofit all Skidegate homes with the devices.Currently, the devices have been installed in roughly half the homes of local Elders.Heat Pumps extract heat from the cold outside air, and move it indoors. The savings can approach $100 per month. The Heat Pump Project was the brainchild of the Housing Department of the Skidegate Band, after they took notice that high heating costs were heavily impacting band members. Don Potter and Heather Leong of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) were present to take in the gratitude. “AANDC was instrumental to get this project off the ground,” said Babs Stevens, CAO of the Skidegate Band Council. Mr. Potter and Ms. Leong from AANDC explained that they couldn’t say no to funding the project. “We can’t take the credit on this project,” Adding “I’m glad we could have the flexibility with funding to make this happen,” said Mr. Potter. Ms. Leong told the room that they congratulate the whole community on this project “It really was the band council who reached out to us,” she said.Elder recipients were first selected by their financial or physical limitations, but the project will eventually expand to cover all of Skidegate.  Trevor Moraes with Skidegate’s housing department explained the benefits of the switch to heat pumps, saying the units also clean the air and do not contribute to air pollution, unlike wood or oil. “Now we are saving money. We will be able to continue to better the community and also improve the air,” Mr. Moraes  said. Babs Stevens took time to thank Pete’s Electric for cutting costs and doing all the electrical work for the project. Don’s Heat Pumps in Tlell, contracted to install the devices, was both thanked by Ms.Stevens and highlighted in a short film by Patrick Shannon. Owner Don Hancock showed his efficient installation skills and explained that he can install up to two units a day. Elders who have already received their heat pumps spoke with visible joy to the camera. Ms. Stevens closed out the meet and greet by excitedly explaining the future of the project.”Doors have opened, We have been approved for 230 homes to be done by September,” she said, adding with a smile, “Nathan Cullen said that he was going to nominate Skidegate for a Green Award, when we [are] done.”

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