Easier for homes in Maple Ridge to hook up to sun

Municipalities adopt regulation

It will be easier to hook up a solar thermal water system in your new house in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

The municipalities have adopted a regulation, along with 34 other B.C. cities, that says all new homes will be built to accommodate a future solar system if homeowners want to install one.

The regulation doesn’t require new homes to have a solar system, just leave space so that one can be installed, particularly an area for a solar collector, says a news release from the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Sunlight can be used to either activate photo-voltaic cells to produce electricity or to pre-heat water for domestic use, thus reducing natural gas consumption.

Building the accommodation into the house will add about $500 to the cost.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture is looking for your ideas on limiting the size of homes built in the Agricultural Land Reserve and restricting their location, in order to prevent farmland turning into country residential estates.

The ministry has already consulted  with local governments, farmers, producers, and realtors on the matter but also want to hear from the public.

A provincial guideline would provide a foundation for consistent decision making, while leaving enough flexibility for local governments to consider their community’s specific  issues and needs or the details of a specific property, said Minister Don McRae.

• People can put in their two cents by going to http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/resmgmt/sf/residential_uses_in_ALR_consultation/index.htm.

People have until July 14 to comment.