Courtenay bans new installations

This week Courtenay Council passed a new bylaw banning the installation of wood stoves in new construction or in homes that have not had a wood burning device (homes with wood stoves or fireplaces may upgrade to an EPA/CSA approved stove).

This bylaw helps ensure the wood smoke problem doesn’t get worse by capping the number of stoves in the city. There is still a lot of work needed to clean up our air, but this is a good first step.

There will likely be push back from industry and some residents so if you have the time, please send a note of thanks to our Courtenay council! (Email addresses are in this WORD document)
As Councillors noted at the meeting, this helps to bring them into line with Comox and Cumberland.

Cumberland’s bylaw not adequate

Although Cumberland lead the way on banning new installations, unfortunately, their bylaw only prevents new stoves in newly constructed homes.

Older homes in Cumberland are still being granted permits to install wood stoves even if the home has never had a wood burning device before.

As most wood stoves are installed in older homes, the Cumberland bylaw does not help to cap the wood smoke problem as Courtenay and Comox have done. Cumberland residents living in all but the newest of subdivisions may still face an increase in stoves in their neighbourhood.

Posted in Health, Regulation, Solutions, Wood Stoves and tagged , , , , , .

4 Comments

  1. The problem for the Puntledge Park area in Courtenay is not new wood-burning stoves (although I am very pleased they are no longer allowed), but the older non-efficient stoves, and also the people using them who use wet wood, do not know how to burn wood so it doesn’t smoke, burn garbage, or all of the above.
    This area is not the only one with smoke problems, but they are exacerbated by the smoke being trapped in a hollow, below 5th, with a rise on the other side of the river.
    The smoke from our neighbours is intolerable and unhealthy in the winter, and it is also very dangerous for anyone visiting who has respiratory problems.
    Banning new woodstoves is not enough.

    • We agree that older stoves and/or poorer burning practices are even worse for the air. But even a perfectly run new stove, using dry wood, still puts out exponentially more harmful fine particulates than any other source of heat (and more than a lot of diesel cars!). And there is no other heat source that requires taxpayers to keep investing money into programs that try and teach people how to use their stoves and, if they fail to change, to pay to enforce better practices.

  2. I agree with Carol about the old Smokey stoves in part;
    Those old stoves can be made more efficient by using ONLY CLEAN, DRY and PROPERLY SEASONED WOOD!!!! Pleeeease!!!! Stop burning wet wood and absolute filthy crud!!
    Our neighbours burn what looks like trimmings from a mill, wet bark and a ton waste wood, some of it’s even painted 🙁 ..from building/ renovations. With just a bit of reading on how to burn cleaner and fixing up the old stove with a can of “stove cement”. You just turn off the lights and you’ll easily see where it’s leaking then patch with cement and a putty knife.
    With just a small about of time, effort and care, everyone should be able to breath easier.

    • We agree that older stoves and/or poorer burning practices are even worse for the air.

      But even a perfectly run new stove, using dry wood, run according to factory standards (which studies show does not happen in most homes), still puts out exponentially more harmful fine particulates than any other source of heat.

      Even if a brand new stove is run at the certified level of 2.5 gm/hour, this is more fine particulate matter than at least a dozen newer diesel cars running at the same time, in one fixed location (and that doesn’t even include the start-up or restoking smoke). Who would put up with that many diesel cars idling in their neighbours’ driveways for every hour a stove is run? And in populated areas you can easily have multiple stoves just on one block.

      There is no other home heat source that requires taxpayers (the majority of whom do not use wood heat) to keep investing money into programs that try and teach people how to use their appliance and, if they fail to change, to pay to try to enforce less polluting practices (which is incredibly difficult to do legally and most communities do not have the enforcement people to do this).

      And there is no other source of heat that has so many documented health impacts and costs to our health care system (other than coal perhaps, and it is illegal to burn here because of those impacts!) A study from Tasmania estimated that each wood stove there cost their health care system over $4000 every single year! Every single year….. (see https://breathecleanair.ca/healthcare-costs/).

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