Cash incentive helps Burns Lakers replace wood stoves

Over 100 residents have used rebate program since 2006

Since 2006, 108 people from Burns Lake have used the wood stove exchange program, which provides cash incentives to replace smoky wood stoves for electric models or cleaner-burning ones. (Submitted image)

Lakes District residents will once again receive a cash incentive when they trade out smoky wood stoves for electric models or cleaner-burning ones.

The Bulkley Valley and Lakes District Airshed Management Society has been awarded $12,500 to continue offering its wood stove exchange program to eligible residents between Endako and Kitwanga.

Since 2006, 108 people from Burns Lake have cashed in, said Susan Brookes, the society’s wood stove exchange coordinator, noting the rebate program has not been offered every year in the region.

The way the program works is that residents have their non-certified wood burning appliance either decommissioned or recycled, buy a new heating unit, apply for the rebate and — if they quality and funds are still available — the society sends them a cheque of either $250 or $400.

Qualifying for either the $250 or $400 rebate depends on the choice of heating unit purchased, Brookes said. The $250 rebate is for the exchange of a non-certified wood burning appliance for a certified one, while the $400 rebate is for the purchase of a pellet, heat pump, gas or oil heater.

But some incentives might change slightly in the new year.

The society is reviewing its rules to potentially increase the cash incentive when people choose pellet heating or heat pumps even more, said Brookes, adding the amount of rebate money is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

According to the provincial government, particulate matter pollution from industrial and domestic sources — especially wood smoke — is a crucial air quality issue in northern B.C. Also known as PM2.5, this fine particulate matter can cause health problems such as lung and heart disease.

“People throughout our province should understand that wood smoke can cause significant harm,” said B.C. Lung Association CEO Christopher Lam in a news release. “This program continues to help remove particulates from the air while raising awareness about the dangers of burning wood.”

The Bulkley Valley and Lakes District Airshed Management Society is a non-profit organization with representation from municipal councils, Northern Health, industry and the public. It also provides education and outreach around the use of wood heat and air quality.

To learn more, visit www.cleanairplan.ca or http://cleanairplan.ca/blog/. For more information about the wood exchange program in the Lakes District, contact Brookes via email at coordinator@cleanairplan.ca.

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