Yukon’s Teslin Tlingit Council is getting a boost from the territorial government, receiving $150,000 as they work to convert ten community buildings to biomass heating.
The First Nation is planning to use the money to assist with labour costs in converting the buildings, which currently run on propane and electrical heat, to a district heating system using biomass boilers.
According to Brad Stoneman, who is on the Teslin Tlingit Council’s project team, the energy-efficient boilers, which run on wood chips, will be housed in container units, and provide the opportunity for ongoing local employment for the First Nation.
“It provides the opportunity, the local opportunity, entrepreneurs to provide the wood chips under contract, for example to the project,” he said. “We are not too sure… just how we will measure it at this point, but it provides that local opportunity.”
According to a government news release, the project is expected to create 12 months of employment for 23 people during its construction phase.
The Teslin Tlingit Council has been laying the groundwork for their biomass project for months. In March, the First Nation partnered with Yukon College to deliver a program teaching students how to harvest wood chips and install biomass boilers, in anticipation of the upcoming biomass project.
Stoneman says the First Nation plans to use sawdust from their own sawmill to fire the new boilers.
The Teslin Tlingit were not the only group to be awarded money through the territory’s Community Development Fund. Last week, the territorial government announced it would help fund seven other community projects, including $200,000 to replace Dawson’s Minto Park concession building, which was lost to a fire in 2015; and $77,400 for the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation to install fencing around the baseball diamond and soccer field at Chief Zzeh Gittlit School.