Despite its past challenges, the Resort Municipality of Whistler is expressing confidence in Cheakamus Crossing’s District Energy System (DES) as it plans to expand the system.
Touted pre-Olympics as a state-of-the-art green technology that extracts heat energy from treated wastewater to provide space and hot water heating, the DES has been a frustrating endeavour for some homeowners in Cheakamus.
After a decade of operational issues, thousands in repair bills, and years of back and forth between some Cheakamus residents and the municipality, the RMOW agreed in August 2019 to offer a $5,000 rebate to homeowners (with conditions attached) to help them opt out of the system.
On June 15, council approved an expansion of the system to service new lots in Cheakamus Phase 2 and 3.
“The RMOW has no concerns with the expansion of the DES into Cheakamus Crossing Phase 2 and Phase 3,” a spokesperson said in an email.
“Our consultant has confirmed that the existing system has the thermal capacity to service Phase 2 lands and beyond. The multi-family homes planned for most of Phase 2 can easily take advantage of the benefits offered by the DES.”
The RMOW does not have data showing how many owners reported problems in the past, the spokesperson said, adding that annual energy costs are much higher for electric baseboard systems.
“Future increases in BC Hydro rates will impact energy costs for residents using electricity, whereas DES rates have stayed constant since 2010,” they said.
“The RMOW continues to make minor improvements to the DES to make it more efficient and reliable. An update to the DES rate structure will be brought to Council later this summer, and this report will include more details of the improvements planned for the DES.”