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Wood stove exchange program returns

Bulkley Valley Lakes District Airshed Management Society to offer rebates for cleaner heat sources
If your woodstove isn’t burning efficiently, there may be rebate for you. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

The Town of Smithers and the District of Houston are once again throwing their support behind the Bulkley Valley Lakes District Airshed Management Society’s wood stove exchange program.

Both local governments are sending letters of support for the society’s general grant application for the Wood Stove Exchange Program and promotional materials.

The society’s goal is to remove uncertified wood-burning appliances from circulation and reduce residential wood heat emissions.

Grant money it receives is used for rebates to cover the cost of removing non-compliant wood stoves and replacing them with currently compliant wood stoves or some other form of heat.

“In the last two years the total swap exchanges for the program were 38,” said Sue Brooks, who administers the program. “Some exchanges take more than a year to complete, so the measure of the past two years is better than a single year plus COVID and supply chains really slowed down individual exchanges.”

This program has minor changes proposed for this year. Rebate values are up and they can now provide rebates at higher values than other regions and communities because the area has been defined as a red zone by the federal Ambiant Air Quality Standard.

The rebates range from $300 to $1,500 depending on what new heat source is being installed.

“Last year we asked for $27,000 to cover a large program that involved coordinating the program and funding exchanges but also included the delivery of other educational programs,” explained Brooks.

“We didn’t get any funding because we had unused funding from years before. Fair enough, but that money was earmarked for exchanges and so we didn’t have any coordinator or operational or educational program expenses.

“This year we applied for the same - roughly $27,000 with roughly $16,000 still unused from previous years. If we do not get funding we will still offer rebate money until we run out, but we will not have much for advertising or other programming.”

This year, the society would also like to create a community score card, and go into each community and work with them to develop an understanding of air quality metrics that they can track and report and present with regard to the wood-burning appliance emission source. This also includes the identification of other main sources contributing to poor air quality.

Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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