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Street closures as city expands downtown system to increase access to renewable energy

The City of Prince George will be initiating construction at two sites downtown later this week to add connections to the Downtown Renewable Energy System. The work will occur at Sixth/Seventh avenues and George and on Quebec Street between Sixth and seventh in order to provide heat both for the new parkade and the future new downtown pool. The areas will be closed to traffic, but remain open for pedestrian access to businesses.

The Downtown Renewable Energy System (DRES) distributes heat from Lakeland Mills to nearly a dozen downtown buildings, including City Hall, the library, Two Rivers Gallery, the Wood Innovation and Design Centre, and the RCMP detachment on Victoria Street. Hot water heated by wood chips and shavings at the mill is circulated through more than three kilometres of underground pipes to provide the buildings with heat and hot water.

Late last week, city crews installed signage that notified residents of the upcoming closures without first informing adjacent businesses about the construction project. The city regrets this oversight and is delivering letters this afternoon to the businesses with information about the project and apologizing for the error. The city is also reviewing its processes relating to notification of capital projects.

The DRES is one of only a handful of municipal energy systems in Canada that primarily uses a renewable fuel source, and sourcing this fuel locally keeps energy dollars in the community. See the city website for more information about the Downtown Renewable Energy System.

Planning for the new downtown pool indicates that simply connecting to the DRES for heating the building and the water in the pool tanks will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 95 per cent compared to using natural gas, according to the city.

Construction is expected to start on Friday, May 1, and is scheduled to last for up to two weeks, depending upon the weather.

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