The CVRD has issued 47 rebates to homeowners so far. File photo.

CVRD approves transit agreement, continuing wood stove exchange program

Committee of the Whole briefs — Sept. 12 meeting

The Comox Valley Regional District held its monthly Committee of the Whole meeting on Sept. 12. Here are a few meeting highlights.

>> The CVRD’s wood-burning stove exchange program will continue in 2018. The board approved applying for up to $20,000 from the province to continue the initiative next year.

The wood stove exchange program provides $250 rebates to homeowners who swap in their wood-burning stoves for newer, lower-emission appliances. The province-wide program started in 2008.

Last year, the Regional District received $17,100 from the BC Lung Association and the Ministry of Environment to fund the program. The board expects a similar allotment for 2018.

According to CVRD manager of transit and sustainability Michael Zbarsky, the program should continue largely unchanged. He said one difference will be adjustments to incentive levels.

“[The province has] increased the incentive contribution that they provide for cleaner burning sources, such as natural gas stoves and heat pumps. This is in line with what the board here has approved to deal with the top-up money we got from Island Health,” he told the board.

In Fall 2015, reports indicated the Comox Valley had some of the poorest air quality in British Columbia. State of the Air reports by the BC Lung Association at the time showed the Courtenay station was among the worst of 40-plus stations in the province in terms of PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter) levels.

Rebates have been issued to 47 eligible participants in the Comox Valley to date.

Read more: Council to investigate air quality

Read more: CVRD to give incentives to get rid of wood-burning stoves

>> The board approved the annual operating agreement and the transit service agreement between the CVRD and BC Transit.

Earlier this summer, the CVRD revealed it would add 4,000 hours to transit service next year at a cost of $455,289. The increased hours will see 15-20 minute frequency between downtown Comox, North Island College, downtown Courtenay and the Driftwood Mall/Anfield Centre.

The RD also introduced two new transit routes to provide regular and on-request service to rural areas, including Merville and Union Bay, this month. The addition adds 900 service hours.

Read more: Comox Valley Transit adding 4,000 hours next year