UVic plans to build $20-million heating plant

The University of Victoria has applied for a permit with the District of Oak Bay to build a $20-million heating plant. It would replace three existing heating plants built in 1968, 1974 and 1994.

The new facility would go in parking lot No. 6, just north of the university’s Interfaith Chapel and south of the Fine Art and Visual Arts buildings, off Ring Road.

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Mike Wilson, director of campus planning and sustainability, said the plant’s modern boilers would immediately improve UVic’s energy efficiency by at least 10 per cent.

The boilers would run on natural gas, like the old ones, but a different fuel-burning process would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The three old plants are either coming to the end of their operational life or will soon need major repair,” Wilson said.

It’s not known when the building permit would be approved or construction begin. But UVic’s goal is to have the power plant operating by March 2018.

Trenches in which steam-carrying pipes will be embedded are being dug and scheduled to be completed by next month.

The new building would require the removal of 10 trees and low shrubs.

The university plans to replace them by planting 30 more trees and greenery.

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