By Andrea Arnold

The provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program has been renamed the provincial Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program. The name was changed to more clearly state the goal of the program – to reduce wood smoke exposure in BC communities. The program offers people incentives to change out non certified, or non Environmental Protection Agency/Canadian Standards Association, EPA/CSA approved, wood stoves for cleaner heating options. It also helps educate residents on more efficient operating techniques for wood-burning appliances, about wood smoke and its health effects.

Valemount’s Clean Air Task Force has been working with the exchange program for several years. With the name change comes some changes to the overall program, but in a statement provided to the Goat, the task force says they will continue to work with village staff to ensure the success of the wood stove exchange program and maximize its benefits to the community.

For the 2023 program, the task force plans to make some changes to the local Wood Stove Exchange Program based on the new guidelines issued by the province.

Propane-fired appliances will no longer be accepted as a replacement for a wood-burning appliance. This is in alignment with the climate targets in the Clean BC Roadmap to 2030.

Residents will be able to receive up to $1300 to exchange to a EPA/CSA certified wood stove, $1750 to exchange to a pellet stove and $3500 to exchange to a heat pump. An addition to the incentive program is the option to install an electric insert for a $400 rebate. 

These amounts are up from the 2022 provincial rebate amounts of $300 for cleaner burning wood stoves (wood”to”wood exchange) and $750 for cleaner heating alternatives like electric, propane, or pellet stoves and $1000 for an electric heat pump exchange. These increases are made possible through an increase in incentive levels from the province along with the amounts provided by the Village of Valemount and the Valemount Community Forest.

If residents have an existing EPA/CSA certified wood stove in use, but want to install a heat pump, they will have the option of keeping the wood stove as well.

Lastly, if someone wants to remove and destroy any non-certified wood stove without exchanging it for another heat source, there is an additional rebate of $300 available to them. 

Another expense, the need for Wood Energy Technology Transfer certification grew exponentially last fall, after Ken McNaughton allowed his WETT certification to lapse, residents were forced to bring in inspectors from out of town. In March, Council approved $3500 through the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) to assist residents in bringing in a WETT Inspector to certify new appliances.

These rebates are for residents within the Village of Valemount municipality. Most of the exchanges that have happened so far have changed out non- EPA/CSA certified wood stoves for certified units. The Village has extended the program to include the exchange of EPA/CSA certified wood stoves more than 5 years old to an alternative replacement. The Regional District also offers provincial rebates through the provincial Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program for anyone living within the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George however if they live in Mackenzie or McBride they are excluded from eligibility.  

The rebates from the province are higher for the Village of Valemount than other areas because Valemount has a “Red Air Zone” status. This means that the air quality measures well below the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS).

“Implementing these positive changes to the program and increasing the rebate amounts to switch out for cleaner heating options are meant to see the reduction of harmful particulate 

matter released into the air which will improve overall air quality in the community,”

said Tracey Dennis, Village of Valemount Community Wood Smoke Reduction 

Program Coordinator.