CVRD: Say no to wood stove rebates (UPDATE: They did!)

In February, Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) Director Ken Grant brought forward a resolution to significantly increase rebates for all types of heating appliances currently funded by CVRD’s Wood Stove Exchange Program and to target areas of the greatest concern.

His resolution includes significant increases for rebates for new wood stoves (See agenda for Feb. 5, 2019 for the wording of the resolution).

As the February 5th meeting ran out of time, the resolution has not yet been discussed. We understand it will be brought forward at the next meeting in March. (See UPDATES below!)

BCACV asking for end to wood stove rebates

Breathe Clean Air has written to all CVRD Directors to urge them to amend the resolution to delete the reference to rebates for new wood stoves, and to state no further public funding should be used to support installing wood burning appliances.

While we fully support increased rebates for non-wood burning appliances, and the targeting of the areas of greatest concern, we are opposed to any public funding being used to help finance the installation of new wood or pellet stoves.

In short, why would a public government willingly invest taxpayer dollars in rebates for appliances that:

  • will not guarantee significant reductions,
  • will still produce far more fine particulates and toxins than any other heat source,
  • will continue to normalize wood burning in densely populated areas (even though we know there is no safe level of exposure to fine particulate pollution), and
  • unlike any other heat source, will require ongoing investment of public resources in education and enforcement (and health care costs)?

Please write

Please consider writing to CVRD directors to express your support for the positive elements of the resolution but to opposed using taxpayer’s dollars for any solid fuel appliance.

Emails for local officials are on our Resources page.

UPDATE (March 15): The resolution was discussed on March 12th, but no clear  decision was reached on wood stove rebates. It is our understanding that the Board decided that it would be better to have a more balanced and knowledgeable recommendation about program changes come from the yet to be formed Airshed Advisory Committee. Further discussion of the idea of rebates for wood stoves will be discussed at a meeting in April. Opinion on supporting rebates for wood stoves is divided. 

Further UPDATE (May 14): CVRD voted to end rebates for new wood stoves on May 13th! Although staff recommended continuing with the $250 rebate for new stoves for at least 2019 (they recommended the anticipated airshed advisory committee should  review the rebate program and provide direction). But the Board said no, and chose to immediately end public funding for new stoves (rebates for gas and heat pumps will be available, and at higher rates in ‘hot spot’ areas)!

This is great news! Rebates after all are incentives – which by definition are meant to encourage, not discourage, certain behaviours.  It is easier to change social norms around burning when governments stop legitimizing and encouraging the status quo through new stove rebates.

Thanks to everyone who contacted the Directors to encourage change!

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