Wood stove program eyes a return
The Nicola Valley Wood Stove Exchange program could return next winter if people express enough interest to the City of Merritt, former program co-ordinator Tim Larsen said.
“There were fewer stoves being changed out, so the decision was to take a break from it,” Larsen said. “Public interest would determine whether it would come back.”
Larsen said there is still a need in the Nicola Valley for people to replace their old wood stoves with new units.
“If you see smoke coming out of a chimney, it’s a problem,” Larsen said. “There are a lot of people who, for various reasons, didn’t take advantage of the program.”
The program, which offers a $750 reimbursement to people switching out old wood stoves for newer, greener models, took a hiatus this winter for lack of expressed interest. Larsen said the program saw over 70 wood-burning stoves in the Nicola Valley switched out over the four years the program ran.
“If you do a rough calculation, that’s about four metric tonnes of particulate gone,” Larsen said, referring to the smallest particles of smoke, which can get into lungs and cause respiratory problems. “The people who did switch out are just tickled pink with their stoves,” Larsen said. “They burn less wood and it’s green — it’s good biofuel, and we have lots of it.”
Wood stove programs are still active in other parts of the province.
The provincial government contributes $250, while the TNRD, City of Merritt, and First Nations contributed the remaining $500.
“We offered the highest incentive in the province,” Larsen said. “Council and the Air Quailty Committee were determined to make it attractive.”