Refurbished arena one small step for Fort Smith one giant leap for the NWT Wednesday October 21 2015 13 By DALI CARMICHAEL Residents of Fort Smith who toured their newly renovated arena on Oct. 15 could hardly believe they were standing in the same building that only a season earlier still had char marks crawling up the inside of the eastern wall. After suffering a re in 2013 what once was a burnt-out shell is now a white gleam- ing ice-sport mecca. LED lighting and newly installed speaker systems hang over the ice surface. A mezzanine now overlooks what will soon be ice providing a warm and in- viting space for spectators and fundraisers alike. A brand-new ice plant will recycle its generated heat and will be used to help warm the facility. The building is like a shiny new toy cello- phane peeled away ready to be played with. But perhaps more signicant than the structure itself is the green energy initiatives set to power it. The outgoing town council started the ball rolling by installing a new electric boiler system which will be powered with excess electricity from the Taltson Dam. The Taltson Dam was built to service a mine which used a lot of electricity to run pumps and motors SAO Keith Morrison explained. When the mine shut down there was a lot of under-utilized power. As it stands the Taltson Dam can generate up to about ve megawatts of power during the winter time and as many as nine during the summer. Fort Smith is about a 2.5-to-three mega- watt consumer so were talking more than enough to power a town our size Morrison said. We met with the Northwest Territories Power Corporation NTPC and we were able to negotiate a rate that is basically indexed to the cost of heating oil. Whatever the cost of heating oil is per unit of energy - in BTUs - we will pay 80 per cent of that for equivalent electricity. The initiative is the latest in the towns attempts to run its major facilities on green energy based on a power strategy devised about ve years ago. Currently JBT Elemen- tary School is heated using a similar electri- cal system while PWK High School and the connected recreation centre are warmed with a pellet boiler system. PhotosDaliCarmichael POLITICS MUNICIPAL When we did that JBT project the Power Corporation gave us a really good deal Morrison said. Not only did they give them the same discount on power that were getting but they also paid for the electric boilers to go in. We asked for that deal this time we asked for them to help us pay for them as well and they said no. The arena project should cost an estimated 150000 which would cover the price of a new boiler - about 100000 - plus installa- tion new transformers and specic controls required to run the electrical boiler. Were in the process of petitioning our MLA Morrison noted referring to Theba- cha MLA Michael Miltenberger who is also the minister in charge of the department of Environment and Natural Resources and the NTPC portfolios. Were going in and were saying Michael we want you to help us pay for this project. It meets all of your needs Morrison said. Dont put us in a line with a bunch of other people applying for green energy grants help us out. Were leading the way here. Everybody is happy if we do this. If we re- duce the cost of operating for the town we can putthatmoneyintootherthingslikerecreation programsandinfrastructureimprovements. For his part Miltenberger indicated he was enthusiastic about the project. This has been an outstanding issue for a long time where weve poured water over the damandmoneyoverthedamandenergyover the dam he said. We are offering the power on an interruptible basis around eight or nine centskwh which is a wholesale rate. Weve offered it to Fort Smith Fort Resolution and Hay River as well. Communities are looking at it I know weve had some businesses that have also indicated an interest. Miltenberger also said he was big on fast and would work to streamline the paperwork where possible. The power is sitting there we just have to get it where its needed. Eventuallythetowncouncilhopestoexpand thehydroelectricinitiativestoallthetownsma- jorinfrastructureincludingintothewaterplant and complex of library town hall and re hall. Its going to position Fort Smith to be- come the greenest community in the North said Mayor Brad Brake. In the meantime gure skaters hockey players and their supporters will be the rst to enjoy the towns newest green facility set to open in early November. FOR SALE 2008 FORD RANGER 4X4Low KMs Stick shift. 12K or BO. Must be seen to be appreciated For information contact Don at 872-3511 donnorj.ca Contact Cascade Graphics at 867 872-3000 or graphicsnorj.ca 207 McDougal Rd Fort Smith NT We offer a range of custom design services You name it well print it User groups and council members tour through the upgraded Fort Smith arena on Oct. 15.