Smoke from woodstoves contributes to the area's poor air quality. (File photo)

Society offers rebates for wood stove exchanges

But there’s been little response in Houston and Burns Lake

A regional society providing rebates for residents buying more efficient wood-burning heating appliances has received a provincial grant to support its activities in 2021.

And the Bulkey Valley Lakes District Airshed Management Society its bolstering rebate opportunities with surplus monies of its own for the area from Endako to Kitwanga.

The provincial grant from the environment and climate change ministry is $12,700 — $8,000 for wood-burning exchanges, $2,500 for education, $1,000 for advertising and $1,200 for a coordinator, says Sue Brookes from the society.

“We are providing $250 for a wood to wood exchanges, $500 rebates for exchanges to pellets and we are also incenting people to buy a heat pump if they use wood heat, we’ll give you $250 for that,” she said.

“Most exchanges have been in Town of Smithers since they have offered funding in addition to ours to incent people to exchange. Unfortunately we have not seen rebate requests from in Houston for a while,” Brookes added in noting that there haven’t been any requests from the Burns Lake either.

The District of Houston did have its own rebate program to act as a supplement and incentive but stopped that several years ago because of lack of demand.

But it does have a bylaw that when an air quality advisory is issued that people burning wood should stop unless the appliance is their dwelling’s only source of heat.

“The logic is it shortens the burning season thereby lessening the smoke in the air,” explained Brookes of the society’s intent.

“In addition we will consider increasing the rebate amount where the residents need the additional help. We take referrals for these people and can work with a dealer or even health care provider to assess the appliance and need and get something fixed, sorted and/or installed.”

The society also provides information and advice on how to operate a wood stove, how to season wood, how to measure or assess whether wood is dry enough to burn, how to monitor air, how to understand an air quality reading and how to build a cheap home air filter.

News of the society’s provincial grant comes as the Houston area recorded the highest particulate matter among a list of 47 communities in the B.C. Lung Association’s 2020 annual report based on data collected for 2019.

Environment ministry officials have indicated that burning wood is a leading cause of particulate matter in the area.

More information is available from Brookes at coordinator@cleanairplan.ca or going on line at cleanairplan.ca/blog.