The Comox Valley Regional District is to receive $29,000 from the Environment Ministry’s Wood Stove Exchange Program, which provides incentives to replace old stoves with cleaner options. File photo

The Comox Valley Regional District is to receive $29,000 from the Environment Ministry’s Wood Stove Exchange Program, which provides incentives to replace old stoves with cleaner options. File photo

Funds help Comox Valley Regional District continue wood stove exchange program

The Comox Valley Regional District is to receive $29,000 from the Environment Ministry’s Wood Stove Exchange Program.

The $270,000 program provides incentives for people to replace old, smoky wood stoves with cleaner options.

A total of 19 communities applied for funding to continue their exchange program, or have sufficient funding from previous years to continue offering rebates to residents.

“This program has been very successful in encouraging people to switch to cleaner wood stoves or different technologies entirely,” George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, said in a news release.

Burning wood creates significant air pollution by increasing particulate matter in the air. Also known as PM 2.5, this fine particulate matter can cause health problems. The program reduces air pollution by helping people trade out old wood stoves for cleaner sources of heat, such as electric heat pumps, gas or pellet stoves, or new emission-certified wood stoves.

Eligible British Columbians can apply for the following incentives:

* $250 for changing to a cleaner-burning wood stove;

* $400 for changing to a qualifying electric heat pump, gas or propane stove, or pellet-fuelled stove; and

* $500 for those who live in “Red Zone” communities. These are areas where fine particulate matter exceeds the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards. Residents can use the money to change to a heat pump, gas or propane stove, or pellet-fuelled stove.

The annual program has helped replace around 9,000 old stoves with cleaner options. Since 2008, the program has provided more than $3.2 million. This year’s fund will distribute $270,000 through the British Columbia Lung Association, which also educates the public about alternatives to wood stoves.