Rebates are available to those who replace old wood stoves.

Rebates are available to those who replace old wood stoves.

‘Hot spot’ wood smoke areas identified in Comox Valley

Last year, the Comox Valley Regional District issued 59 rebates to residents who replaced old wood stoves with a cleaner heating option. The rebates included 13 electric heat pumps, eight higher efficiency wood stoves, 35 gas stoves (propane or natural gas) and three pellet stoves.

In May, the CVRD board eliminated rebates for cleaner burning wood stoves and increased all other rebates to $1,000. Rebate amounts have since dropped from $1,000 to $400, as per provincial grant funding.

“The Province operates their Woodstove Exchange Program, and they said through their funding program a maximum $400 rebate for woodstove exchange,” said Alana Mullaly, the CVRD’s senior manager of sustainability and RGS Planning. “In past years, the district has used other grant money to top up the $400.”

The district has applied for further grant money to support a continued top up.

Last December, the Environment Ministry contributed $29,000 to help reduce wood smoke in the Valley. The CVRD has allocated $15,500 to support rebates, $10,000 to support public outreach, and $3,500 to support a co-ordinator to deliver the program.

Island Health has also provided a $35,000 grant to provide top up rebates in ‘hot spot areas’ of West Courtenay and Cumberland. These areas have higher concentrations of wood smoke coupled with higher housing densities.

“So if you applied for a rebate in those areas, you would be eligible for the $400 plus a top up,” Mullaly said.

Property owners can apply for additional rebates through cleanBC, which is administered by the provincial government.

Visit bit.ly/35dk8Fk for information about the CVRD’s Wood Smoke Reduction Program.