The City’s airshed management plan mentions wood-burning stoves and fireplaces as a pollution concern.
City environmental and sustainability services manager Jen Fretz told council in a workshop Tuesday that proposed solutions include targeting the worst offenders by educating them on proper burning techniques and creating a wood-stove exchange program.
The City is not looking at banning the devices, at least not for many years, she said.
Fretz told council the three main sources of air pollution in Kamloops are industrial (which the City has little control over), mobile/transportation (which the City has some say over), and area — open burning and land clearing (which the City has control over).
Education and awareness are a big part of reducing emissions and social pressures can also help get people to cut down, she said.
Overall, Kamloops has good air quality, but there are incidents like the 2003 wildfires, or occasional smoky days, that make people feel it isn’t that good, she said.
One-third of the air emissions in the city are from industrial sources, one-third is from transportation/vehicles and one-third from area sources like wood stoves.
Coun. Pat Wallace said she’d have difficulty telling someone he couldn’t use wood for heat. And if there was ever a long power outage in the middle of winter, people might need to burn wood in fireplaces or wood stoves to keep warm, she pointed out.
Fretz said the idea is not to ban stoves and fireplaces, but to manage them. There are people with asthma who suffer health problems from wood smoke, she said.
Coun. Ken Christian noted that Kamloops is late jumping on the airshed plan bandwagon, with Merritt, Kelowna and Williams Lake already well settled into their plans.
Mayor Peter Milobar said other cities might have more aggressive airshed plans, but this is a first step. If it goes too far too fast, people won’t buy in, he said.
The full plan will be brought to council late this year or in early 2013.