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Cypress County looking at solar energy project

Posted on April 11, 2017 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Justin Seward
Cypress County Council were back in the council chambers after almost a month since the last meeting to discuss topics including Dunmore’s Solar Energy project, CCI Wireless letter of support, the Dunmore Waste Transfer Site agreement and the South Boundary Road maintenance upgrade with the City of Medicine Hat on April 4.

Solar Energy Project

Terralta Inc. made a visit to Dunmore to provide an electrical supply business solution to see if it was financially feasible for the county to look at solar energy as a means of powering the Dunmore site. It was determined that Building N is a very appealing location for constructing a solar array on because of its large surface that is situated on the south side of the facility. Additionally, it could cover 32 per cent of the site’s electrical costs.
“I would actually like to do a project like this,” said Coun. Dustin Vossler.
“I want to see if it’s good to put up elsewhere or not. I won’t trust anybody’s reports that we get from anywhere else without seeing the numbers myself.”
He added that it’s worth a try because  he does not see a reason why the project would not work in other places such as community halls where the electricity costs can be reduced and have updated solar panels.
The projected cost of the installation is $218,648 with MCCAC funding of $54,662, reducing the county’s cost to $163,985. The projected payback with the low energy rates would be $9,640 over 17 years. Another avenue that could be explored is carbon credit that would generate $1,800, reducing the payback to 14 years.
Council decided to approve for administration to submit an Expression of Interest to the Alberta Municipal Solar Program (AMSP) for a proposal to come back to consider later on.

CCI Wireless Letter of Support
CCI Wireless has asked the county for a letter of support to assist in the grant application in order to upgrade the equipment on the their current Medicine Hat and Elkwater towers. The Elkwater tower would get the latest LTD equipment installed to improve the speeds, while Medicine Hat would receive additional antennas and access points to get peak demand times to satisfy customer needs.
“This will be an improvement,” said Coun. Richard Oster.
“ To me this is a good step in the right direction. It’s not costing us any money.”
However, the new service does not reach out to those who do not have internet in the county.
Council approved to support the letter of support which had to be submitted by April 7.

Dunmore Solid Waste Transfer Site Agreement

Gas City Metals owner Sandy Traichel came to talk to council about the current agreement in hopes of getting approval of the annual quotation. Gas City Metals took over as caretakers for the waste transfer site in May 2016 and made improvements in collaboration with the county to the recycling, maintenance and cost savings in the operation of the transfer site.   However, Gas City Metals requested an amendment to their agreement greater than $10,000 permitted in the purchasing policy.
Coun. Richard Oster asked Traichel if there were more savings in the works.
“I see waste as a resource, not as a waste,” said Traichel.
“I think that’s something that everyone needs to turn their mind around.”
She provided one example of one volunteer  taking clothes that has been dropped off at solid waste transfer site and brought them to the salvation places. There are other issues that haven’t been tackled such as the grass dumping, where residents are frustrated about throwing out their grass but there is not an alternative. She added there is about a 30 per cent  in volume reduction in hauling costs as a result.
Furthermore, the site is looking at revenue generating with the details still being finalized.
“There’s still room to move,” said Traichel. “You pay people for their brain power. There’s people that actually do the work but there’s the planning and thinking that’s the otherside of the equation.”
Since taking over the waste transfer site with improved on site Caretaker and County management there has been approximately $14,000 in cost savings that includes recycling clean wood, guiding users to dispose recyclable into appropriate  bins minimizing hauling costs with solid waste bins.
Council approved Gas City Metals proposed Gas City Metals annual quotation for the remainder of 2017.

South Boundary Road resurfacing

Council was asked near the end of the meeting to consider a decision on what should be done in conjunction with the City of Medicine Hat in terms of resurfacing South Boundary Road west of South Ridge Drive at Range Road 60. The city felt after meeting with county administration in AMrch that Cypress County should contribute 25 per cent to the resurfacing .
After a discussions county agreed to contribute 25 per cent to the City of Medicine Hat for maintenance and improvements with $250,000 coming from Accelerated Rehabilitation Reserve.

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