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 , , , , , .


  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.

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