Courtenay tackles wood stoves

Will Comox, Cumberland, CVRD join the party?

By Rebecca Lennox

This resolution passed unanimously at yesterday at council. As I look back over the year, I am grateful that I had the honour of being your voice on council and I look forward to almost another year in that seat.

It is hard sometimes to know if I am doing the right thing, as there are so many huge issues facing us, but I do my best and that is all anyone can do in life.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to be engaged in their community and to all of you who make the Comox Valley the wonderful place it is. Best wishes for 2018.

Rebecca Lennox is a member of the Courtenay City Council. She may be reached at rlennox@courtenay.ca

Resolution

It is well documented that poor Comox Valley air quality continues to be a major issue for residents of the City of Courtenay, not to mention the associated health concerns. The problem is most acute during the winter months.

Our provincial government has enacted more stringent regulations concerning wood burning appliances sold in B.C. as well as clearly identified the types of fuel that can be burned in those appliances, all in an effort to reduce pollution.

The City has worked in partnership with the Regional District to improve air quality with programs such as the Wood Stove Exchange Program as well as public education.

To date, 71 applications have been received for rebates to update wood appliances to the new code, but sadly only 4 of those applications are from Courtenay residents.

It is clear that the City needs to take further action, therefore I am proposing the following resolution:

“WHEREAS
1) Wood burning appliances are a popular means of home heating in the City of Courtenay;

2) The City of Courtenay is identified as one of the top ten BC communities for PM2.5 level pollution, that is fine particulate matter that can be inhaled deep into the lung;

3) Studies have proven that there is a direct correlation between PM2.5 pollution and serious health conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, lung and heart disease, not to mention the impact on other serious health conditions. Children and older adults are most at risk but no one is immune;

4) A recent study conducted by Health Canada not only here in the Courtenay/Comox area, but also Kamloops and Prince George has found a direct correlation between elevated levels of PM2.5 from wood burning to hospital admissions for heart attacks; and

5) According to the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, advanced wood burning appliances compared to older, uncertified appliances can:

-reduce toxic emissions by as much as 55%,

-reduce PM2.5 emissions by as much as 70%

-increase energy efficiency by at least 70%

-use 30-50% less firewood;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Council direct staff to implement the following measures to reduce City air pollution with the objective of protecting the health of our residents, including:

1) implementation of a two year program to bring all wood burning appliances within the City in compliance with current federal CSA and provincial certifications and emissions standards;

2) provide those residents who can demonstrate that upgrading their current wood burning appliance to a modern, cleaner and more efficient appliance would present an undue financial hardship with financial assistance in the form of an interest free loan from the City to enable them to update their appliance;

3) effective immediately, homes sold with wood burning appliances within the City of Courtenay will be required to confirm that the appliance conforms to the latest federal and provincial government certifications and emissions standards or replace the appliance with a compliant model;

4) create and implement municipal regulations and guidelines outlining the types of fuels allowed to be burned within the City of Courtenay; and

5) advocate with the Town of Comox, Village of Cumberland and the Comox Valley Regional District to adopt similar regulations.

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