Jan 26,2012 Tri City News

By Sarah Payne - The Tri-City News
Published: January 26, 2012 2:00 PM
Updated: January 26, 2012 2:29 PM

The new Port Moody Fire Hall #1 will be built to a LEED silver standard, but two city councillors suggested taking that a step further and getting the building certified — potentially adding at least another $100,000 to the price tag.

Coun. Diana Dilworth put forward a motion that the fire hall be silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, and that costs be included in the hall’s construction budget.

“Port Moody has been a leader in environmental actions and initiatives for decades, and we are falling behind when it comes to ensuring that our civic facilities are constructed and certified to the highest standards of environmental and sustainable excellence,” Dilworth said.

She cited examples of projects throughout B.C. being built with LEED certifications, including new health authority buildings (certified gold) and some North Vancouver condos (gold and platinum certified). Dilworth also noted Port Coquitlam and Metro Vancouver are encouraging builders to build and certify to LEED standards.

“We encourage developers who come to Port Moody to be as sustainable as possible... and we rate them against a sustainability checklist, but it’s pretty difficult to ask them to build to LEED standards when the city can’t set the example to do so itself,” Dilworth said.

LEED certification was one cost-cutting measure that brought the fire hall’s original $16-million budget down to $11 million.

Coun. Rick Glumac took Dilworth’s suggestion to new heights, however, when he put forward a motion that the fire hall be built — and certified — to a gold standard.

He said some of the costs could be offset by a Green Municipal Fund grant.

Not everyone on council was as enamoured with the idea, including Coun. Gerry Nuttall, who said PoMo residents aren’t prepared to pay big bucks for the “bragging rights” of LEED certification.

“Getting certification will in no way affect the operational efficiencies of the fire hall,” he said.

Coun. Rosemary Small concurred, urging council to be fiscally responsible and to trust staff will follow the mandate to build the hall to LEED standards.

“I’m deeply concerned about the tax burden,” added Coun. Zoe Royer. “However I would like to explore the grant process further. If that’s a possibility that would be amazing.”

Glumac’s motion was defeated, as was Dilworth’s.

Council did approve a motion to have staff explore the Green Municipal Fund application process and report back to council at the next meeting.