While Campbell River's air quality ranks among the best in British Columbia, some residents report pollution from residential wood heating and fine particulate wood smoke pollution may exceed the 24-hour provincial ambient air quality objectives during certain weather conditions in hot spot areas. Other local sources of air pollution include recreational fires (especially on the beach), burning garbage, land clearing fires in rural areas and vehicle exhaust. This report provides an analysis of a smoke pollution survey completed in Campbell River.
Why it matters
Fine particulate matter in wood smoke is the primary air pollutant concern in B.C. because they are highly toxic, and people can easily breathe in such small particles.
What we do
In Campbell River, the Clean Air Bylaw (No. 3293) restricts open "backyard" burning. Additionally, it is now required that all new solid fuel burning appliances meet CSA or EPA efficiency standards.
The City ran a province-sponsored woodstove exchange program between 2010 and 2017 to help reduce fine particulate pollution. Rebates were provided to encourage residents to exchange their old, uncertified stove for a new certified wood, pellet, or gas heating appliance. New stoves burn hotter and slower, reducing smoke output by up to 70% while consuming up to 1/3 less wood. The attached map shows the locations of the 211 completed exchanges.
Fine particulate levels are measured by the provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy at the ambient air quality monitoring station on Dogwood Street (called the Elk Falls station).
To find out more about air quality, including air quality advisories and current readings from the provincial air quality station on Dogwood Street (called Elk Falls Dogwood on the interactive map) visit The BC Air Quality Advisories website.
A traditional Canadian method of home heating, wood burning remains a popular choice in Campbell River today. While new technologically advanced appliances reduce air pollution and increase efficiencies, wood heating still requires more expertise than any other home heating option. In order to minimize pollution in local neighbourhoods, here are some helpful links to help you Burn it Smart: