A sketch of the building under construction at 1700 Balmoral Ave. in Comox.

A sketch of the building under construction at 1700 Balmoral Ave. in Comox.

Comox building letting off too much hot air

Developer asking for permit to move three heat pumps in front of 1700 Balmoral Ave.

A building under construction within the Town of Comox is letting out a bit too much hot air.

At the Nov.26 council meeting, Don Cameron of 1700 Balmoral Ave. told council the parking garage, which had a handful of condensing units designed to go inside, has been trapping the warm inside without a way for it to escape.

Within the last few months, he explained mechanical engineers conducted heat calculations to determine if the heat generated from the units can leave the garage. Despite fans and the entrance gates, he said they were unable to remove the heat.

He asked council for a development variance permit to be issued to place three of the heat pumps within the front yard of the five-storey building.

He noted the pumps would be in a landscape zone in the front yard setback of the property and would have physical barriers that would block any view of them from the road.

During the initial design of the building, all heat pumps were proposed to be located on the roof. During the preparation of the construction drawings, it was discovered there was insufficient roof area to accommodate the pumps for all of the units. To address this, the pumps for the ground floor units were relocated to within the yard space and parkade.

However, a Comox zoning bylaw prohibits the location of noise-generating equipment within a front year.

Coun. Pat McKenna inquired if there were any alternatives to placing the units at the proposed location.

“They looked at every option,” said Cameron. “Engineers found because the roof is so far away, all the lines that have to be worked through the building have maximum lengths. That maximum lines are about 100 feet. This is what they came up with between mechanical engineers and planning staff.”

McKenna also asked about sound concerns, and Cameron explained the pumps are state-of-the-art equipment on the low end of sound delineation.

Following subsequent discussion, the motion was passed to approve the variance permit.


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