“We need to do something about it.”

That is what Muskoka resident Gerald Parker told the district’s Community and Planning Services Committee on Thursday, March. 21, when he expressed the inconveniences he faced installing heat pumps on his property.

Parker  said in 2021, his family planned to build a home “as net zero as  possible (using) heat pumps” in Muskoka Lakes, close to Utterson.

“In early 2023, after getting permits and signatures, we were told (by The Township of Muskoka Lakes)  that our heat pumps were not a primary heat source and that we needed  to tear out walls and put in baseboards everywhere. This is  nonsensical,” he said.

Parker said he had to modify the house, adding baseboards and cited a statement he got from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing indicating that heat pumps are allowed for home heating under the Building Code.

Municipalities  in Muskoka are no exception and also allow heat pumps. However, it is  up to each municipality’s building department to accept the design as  submitted with the building permit application.

“We should be  helping, not hindering, those trying to get it right from the get-go.  The result of this is diminished uptake, ongoing environmental  degradation, which then forces singular appeals to the Building  Commission — this is a provincial issue that needs to be  clarified,” Parker said.

Parker asked the district to petition the  province to ensure ‘cold weather’ heat pumps are specifically  identified as “Type 1 Primary Heat Sources” in the province.

It was a call picked up by Climate Action Muskoka (CAM).

“Heat pumps can help the District of Muskoka  meet its housing affordability goals and reduce carbon pollution. At  the same time, we can make more efficient use of the electricity grid,  given that electrification is a route to getting off carbon-polluting  fuels,” said CAM’S Arleigh Luckett.

“My suggestion from Climate  Action Muskoka is that (district) staff be asked to investigate this  opportunity and see if it’s appropriate here.”

The committee  directed staff to review options to promote the use of heat pumps and  seek funding to finance heat pump-related projects.

By Julian Orlando Chaves, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 24, 2024 at 17:46

This item reprinted with permission from   Huntsville Forester Muskoka Region, Ontario   Huntsville, Ontario

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