New geothermal heating and cooling system to be built at Forks

A new environmentally friendly heating and cooling system is being introduced at a new development at The Forks, thanks to support from all three levels of government announced Thursday.

Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal said the Forks Renewal Corporation will receive $1.8 million in funds to build a geothermal system for its downtown Winnipeg buildings — including Railside at The Forks, a mixed-use neighbourhood development planned for the site.

Vandal said it’s a step toward addressing the impacts of climate change that are already being felt in Manitoba.

“Today’s announcement highlights some of the important work led by Canadian businesses such as the Forks Renewal Corporation to build a cleaner and healthier future,” he said.

“Leadership on strategic projects like the one announced today will make sure Canada exceeds its target and achieves net-zero emissions by 2050.”

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On top of the $1.8 million in federal funds, the City of Winnipeg and province of Manitoba are each chipping in under $8 million in tax increment financing.

The new, greener system is designed to allow future expansion to other buildings and developments at the historic meeting place of the Red and Assiniboine rivers.

According to the federal government, the Forks Renewal Corporation is expected to save the equivalent of 11 million litres of gasoline — or a reduction of 26,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions — over the lifetime of the project.

The mixed-use Railside project is the first-ever development planned for The Forks that will include residential use, and is intended to focus on environmental, economic and social sustainability, as well as celebrating the unique history and culture of the site.

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Read more: Manitoba to spend $1M to fund local green initiatives

“Railside at The Forks is an important project full of big ideas and amazing public spaces,” said Sara Stasiuk of the Forks North Portage Partnership.

“It will also create employment opportunities, add a variety of additional housing, provide economic return, celebrate culture and more.

“The district geothermal system was key to the vision for Railside as a green development and as part of our overall Target Zero goals.”

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