The association representing woodstoves is fighting bans by municipal governments in the Comox Valley. File photo

The association representing woodstoves is fighting bans by municipal governments in the Comox Valley. File photo

Industry fighting back against B.C. woodstove bans

Clean-air advocates not sold on industry data about new stoves

The industry association for woodstove producers is fighting back against local government attempts to curb use of woodstoves as a heating source.

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada (HPBAC) recently launched a publicity campaign to “overturn the ban” in Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley area, including a website devoted to the issue.

Adam De Caire, the association’s director of public affairs, told Black Press Media the group is disappointed by the actions of local governments in recent years that pose obstacles for the inclusion of new, cleaner woodstoves in homes. The campaign is the first of its kind for the HPBAC and went live in late January.

“This campaign seemed like the logical next step after a disappointing level of engagement/consultation from local municipalities,” he said. “Banning future installations is the easy path for municipalities, but does not make a measurable improvement to air quality.”

The goal of the HPBAC campaign is to let residents know about the local restrictions as well as educate them on the wood-burning stoves sold in 2021 versus misconceptions they might have. One of their arguments is that the newer stoves burn cleaner with far less particulate matter.

“If a resident sees a neighbour’s chimney letting off large amounts of smoke, then it is highly likely that the offender is using an appliance that is many years or decades old,” De Caire said.

Stoves sold before 1988 had no limits on emissions. The HPBAC’s data show old stoves could emit 40-50 grams of particulate matter per house. The post-1988 stoves might emit just over eight, with further reductions since 2015. A stove sold and installed today in B.C. now can emit a maximum of 2.5 grams per hour, De Caire added.

This response from the industry was prompted by bylaw decisions made in three Vancouver Island municipalities.

Courtenay updated its bylaw in May 2020, to restrict solid fuel-burning appliances either to new buildings or through renovations to existing ones. Since December 2018, Cumberland has prohibited woodstoves in new residential buildings, to go with a ban on yard waste and land-clearing burning from 2017. Black Press had yet to hear back from Comox at the time of this posting, but its website shows its building bylaw was amended in 2019 to include a woodstove ban.)

RELATED STORY: Comox council says no to wood stoves in renos and construction

RELATED STORY: ‘Hot spot’ wood smoke areas identified in Comox Valley

Clean-air advocates, on the other hand, are worried about the prospect of more woodstoves in the Comox Valley. They point to evidence that the area already has some of the poorest air quality in the province, especially in the cold winter months when more people are burning.

“We need to cap the numbers of stoves and start reversing the trend,” said Jennell Ellis of Breathe Clean Air Comox Valley. “From our point of view, these bylaws that industry are fighting are just one small step.”

The organization has a Facebook group with nearly 300 members. It also includes information about air quality threats on its website, and links to the province’s air quality index and pollution numbers. The group also cites reports from the BC Lung Association and the provincial government that note the community’s high particulate numbers for the area not only around the Georgia Strait region but the province as a whole.

Breathe Clean Air Comox Valley is not convinced by arguments about new cleaner woodstoves, saying the evidence the industry provides is based on optimum use, not necessarily on stoves that have been around for a few years.

“Even the best burners are still putting out way more pollution,” Ellis said. “If we’re going to clean up our air, we can’t keep putting in more woodstoves.”

De Caire said the association is part of an area airshed round table but is disappointed that local governments enacted their bans.

“The City of Courtenay preempted the work of this group by imposing a ban … with no consultation of the industry, and as far as we can see, of the community at large. We have experienced a similar lack of consultation or engagement from the Town of Comox and the Village of Cumberland,” he said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

air quality

Just Posted

On May 10, Saanich council unanimously approved a 2020 budget with a 5.76 per cent property tax increase. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich adopts 5.76% property tax hike for 2021

Budget includes $2.6 million to accelerate climate actions, active transportation targets

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Gorge skull fragment could bring closure to one Greater Victoria missing person case

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

(Black Press Media file photo)
UPDATE: Sooke Road reopens after gas leak at Colwood Corners

SD62 warns afternoon buses could be delayed

SIG
Policing amid pandemic challenging, says Sooke’s top cop

Mounties document reduction in property crime and impaired driving

According to Statistics Canada, Greater Victoria’s unemployment rose half a per cent to 6.2 per cent in April 2021 compared to the previous month. (Black Press Media File)
Unemployment in Greater Victoria continues to rise

April figures peg local unemployment at 6.2%

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

This house at 1514 Trumpeter Cres. in Courtenay is currently for sale, with a disclaimer that the property was used in a cannabis grow operation in the past. Photo by Record staff
Drug trafficking at Vancouver Island residence nets over $250K forfeiture

Ruling comes from a search warrant executed in 2016 on Trumpeter Crescent home

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

A Mountie issued B.C. RCMP’s first ticket for non-essential travel May 1. (Black Press Media files)
Driver ticketed, told to ‘return to Lower Mainland immediately’ by Vancouver Island police

The motorist was originally pulled over for driving-related offences May 1

Children walk back to their classroom while wearing masks and physical distancing at St. Barnabas Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont., in October, 2020. A group of B.C. teachers has issued an open letter calling for the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in B.C. schools. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Group of B.C. teachers calls for easing of pandemic measures for students

Teacher group says ‘response to COVID is out of balance to the cost our youth are paying’

Adam Hamdan has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorist charges given temporary residence in Canada

Adam Hamdan had been facing deportation to Jordan, where he holds citizenship through his Palestinian parents

Most Read