The entrance to the Bavarian-themed Platzl in downtown Kimberley. Photo: City of Kimberley

The entrance to the Bavarian-themed Platzl in downtown Kimberley. Photo: City of Kimberley

Kimberley objects to Nelson council comments about energy efficiency program

CAO says he’s concerned about Kimberley’s reputation

The City of Kimberley takes issue with information reported at a recent Nelson city council meeting about the East Kootenay city’s energy efficiency standards for new houses.

Kimberley adopted Step 3 of the BC Energy Step Code in 2017, committing it to specific levels of airtightness in new buildings.

One of the reasons Nelson city council postponed adopting Step 3 at its Dec. 18 meeting was a statement by Councillor Cal Renwick that the new standards had caused construction problems in Kimberley.

“They are having some issues with moisture and what have you,” Renwick told council. “Some of the contractors don’t know how to properly deal with some of the new products that are out there.”

Asked where he got that information, Renwick later told the Nelson Star he had heard it from a Nelson building contractor but gave no more details.

Kimberley’s chief administrative officer Scott Somerville contacted the Nelson Star to say that 77 homes have been built in Kimberley since 2017 to Step 3 or higher, with no moisture problems reported to city hall.

“We just want to set the record straight,” he said. “The Step Code has worked great for the city of Kimberley. It’s helping us achieve our environmental goals.”

He said neither he nor his building inspectors have heard anything about the moisture problems mentioned by Renwick.

Asked if there could be problems he might not have heard about, Somerville said he would be surprised if a Nelson councillor had heard something that neither his staff nor Kimberley city council had heard.

“The reason I didn’t really want to take this lying down, is that we’re trying to be a bit of a beacon for other municipalities that may be a bit reluctant to go in this direction,” he said.

Somerville said he was written to Nelson council expressing his concerns.

At the Dec 18 meeting, Renwick argued that council postpone the adoption of Step 3 until the province’s deadline in 2022. Council voted to postpone it until March of this year.

Councillor Keith Page, arguing at the meeting for not postponing the adoption of Step 3 at all, suggested Kimberley and Nelson should be collaborating and sharing energy efficiency technologies.

This story was altered on Jan 11 to add paragraph five.

Related: Nelson council delays new energy efficiency rules for new houses

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