District backs regional woodstove exchange grant application

But there won’t be a local top up offered

The District of Houston is backing an application by the Bulkley Valley – Lakes District Air Management Society for another grant to ease the cost of people buying newer and more efficient wood stoves or other more efficient heating methods.

Past programs have provided vouchers for rebates worth up to $900 for people replacing older and more inefficient wood stoves with newer wood stoves, pellet stoves, electric heat pumps, propane or gas stoves.

It’s part of the effort to reduce the amount of fine particulate matter being released into the air.

The program follows a study by the provincial ministry indicating that Houston is one of the communities in northern B.C. with higher-than-recommended levels of airborne particulate matter.

Last year the District of Houston offered $3,000 as a local top up for residents exchanging older wood stoves, but there was no take up of the overall exchange program, and the top up was not offered again this year.

“Council has issued a letter of support for the application. There has not been consideration given to extending a separate woodstove exchange program through the District for Fiscal Year 2020,” noted District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck.

Houston ranked 14 out of 17 communities exceeding fine particulate levels on average in 2017, second out of five communities in 2016 and first out of 15 communities in 2015, indicates information published by the B.C. Lung Association.

Wood stoves are the largest contributor to air quality issues in Houston, according to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

Between January 2018 and February 2018, ministry officials issued eight air quality advisories for Houston.

In addition to industrial emissions and wood smoke, automobiles, trucks and rail traffic also contribute to air quality issues.