Province spends $323K to replace health centre boilers 

Aging boilers replaced with high-efficiency units

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO - UPGRADES Last year's upgrades to the Whistler Health Care Centre's helipad is just one of several renovations at the facility in the last year.
  • file photo
  • UPGRADES Last year's upgrades to the Whistler Health Care Centre's helipad is just one of several renovations at the facility in the last year.

The Whistler Health Care Centre recently got a bit of a facelift after B.C.'s Ministry of Health announced it would replace the facility's aging, low-efficiency boilers.

Victoria has committed just over $323,000 to replace the 22-year-old boilers with several new, high-efficiency units.

"The previously existing boilers had come to the end of their term and were replaced by seven smaller units that are actually supposed to be more efficient and will keep up with the heating demands in the building," explained Janet Hickey-Blackburn, operation-site lead at the Whistler Health Care Centre.

The upgrades are one of 23 capital projects health authorities have begun work on across the province in an effort to cut back on energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at medical facilities.

"By investing in these projects, the health system will (be) able to reduce existing energy use and redirect money saved directly to support our health priorities," said B.C. health minister Terry Lake in a release.

In all, the projects are expected to cut annual carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3,600 tonnes, and save health authorities more than $950,000 in annual energy costs.

The other recent notable upgrade at the health centre was last year's renovation of the helipad, which was upgraded to allow for single-engine helicopter landings. Renovation costs totalled $1.8 million over the past four years after it was initially shut down, then upgraded and failed a round of inspections. It was cleared for landing by Transport Canada in October.

Since then, Hickey-Blackburn said there have been few problems with vehicle traffic flow — a constant headache during upgrades — near the helipad for landings, but that pedestrian traffic "is still a bit of an issue."

Another recent renovation at the centre was the replacement of flooring with non-slip material.

Hickey-Blackburn admitted "a lot" of work has been done at the facility over the past year, and she's hopeful upgrades will continue to keep pace with the centre's needs.

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