Castor & District Museum planning on gas heat for machine shop

ECA Review/Castor and District Museum Facebook Page
Written by Stu Salkeld

The Town of Castor is looking for a bit more information after a local group requested help installing heat into a building the group uses for projects.

Two representatives of the Castor & District Museum, John Wright and Mike Bain, appeared before Castor town council at their regular meeting Sept. 28 to request the town’s help with installing a natural gas line to a workshop.

Wright stated the museum volunteers have little space for working on projects and the machine shop is the only real option they have. However, it’s not heated.

He stated the museum would like to install heat in the machine shop.

Bain stated the Town of Castor pays the museum’s utilities, which the museum appreciates because without this help the museum may not be able to operate.

Because, of this help, Wright stated the museum tries to be very frugal and careful with its utilities to keep utility bills as low as possible.

Also, the museum tries to be as energy efficient as possible and have installed items such as a high efficiency furnace and an on-demand water heater.

He stated the museum would like to install gas heating in the machine shop. Otherwise, the shop is too cold for people to use in the winter which would be a shame because the museum has lots of volunteers who would be willing to pitch in this winter if the shop was habitable.

Bain stated a gas line would have to be run to the shop and would require some trenching.

He also stated the museum volunteers thought a second-hand heating unit might work, which is about 20 years old, but it runs at about 60 per cent efficiency. 

The museum instead decided to buy a new heater which was also capable of venting out the side of the building which would be much easier for installation and operation.

Bain also stated the museum’s fundraising activities have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as two events had to be cancelled.

Bain explained the museum was planning on purchasing the heater and have it installed, while they were requesting the town handle the gas line installation and, eventually, the gas bill.

The museum volunteers noted previous museum renovations have all been paid through fundraising.

Councillors asked if the museum had looked to portable heaters. Bain answered yes, but it’s likely portable heaters need to be vented outside.

Council then asked if hanging heaters had been considered. Wright stated that’s actually the new heater mentioned earlier in their presentation.

Councillors asked what insulation the machine shop has. 

The museum volunteers answered the roof is insulated and they noted the building stays quite cool in the hot summer, which suggests the building is reasonably well insulated.

Councillors wanted to know how much the trenching and gas line installation would cost the town, but the volunteers noted they did not have that information.

Later after the volunteers left the council meeting, councillors debated the request.

Several councillors noted they would need a reliable quote for the trenching the gas line installation before making a decision. 

Councillors decided town staff would return at a future meeting with information about what it would cost to have town staff install the gas line plus what a private company would charge to do the work.


Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.