On the technical level, it appears that situating biomass boilers within a natural gas grid is very helpful (as you mention VIH is exploring in Nanaimo). In a sense NG can be considered a “bridge fuel” in this specific context. The natural gas can be phased out in a district heating system, as alternatives become viable. When used to create electricity, natural gas does no better than coal as far a GHG’s are concerned, so it’s sometimes called the “bridge to nowhere” in that case.
When a community is outside of the NG infrastructure there is an opportunity to explore bio-methane, or woodgas as a backup, or look to a heat-exchange technology.