Smoke encases the Courtenay Estuary and Airpark in the Comox Valley (Photo taken by Jonathan Gauthier, MyComoxValleynow.com staff)
The Comox Valley Regional District wants to clear the air.
According to the district, particulate matter levels in the valley seasonally exceed provincial and national standards, and that residential heating and open burning is the predominant source.
For example, burning wood for heat is a big part of the problem.
The district notes that this type of pollutant is of particular concern as its small size enables it to enter deep into the lungs, penetrating the lung barrier and entering the bloodstream.
Exposure to fine particulates can lead to a range of short and long term human health impacts, particularly for cardiovascular health.
The district also notes that there is no known threshold for a “safe” level of particulate matter; every bit of improvement of levels in the air can decrease negative health impacts.
This is why the CVRD Airshed Roundtable met for the first time on Sept. 15th, to discuss air quality issues in the valley.
Over the next three years, the roundtable will work together to prepare and implement a Regional Airshed Protection Strategy.
The project is supported by the Air Quality Coordinator, Pinna Sustainability, and is actioned under the Regional Growth Strategy Service
“Poor air quality is a concern in the Comox Valley,” explains CVRD senior manager of sustainability and RGS planning, Alana Mullaly.
“The Airshed Roundtable will enable us to work together as a region to improve air quality one action at a time.”
In 2019, a working group came up with the Roundtable framework including a list of proposed members.
The membership list was endorsed by the Board in 2020.
The Airshed Roundtable active membership includes:
Comox Valley Regional District
City of Courtenay
Village of Cumberland
BC Ministry of Forest Lands Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Vancouver Island Health Authority
Vancouver Island University
Chamber of Commerce
Comox Valley Breathe Clean Air
Comox Valley Community Health Network
Comox Valley Nurses for Health & the Environment
Comox Valley Farmers’ Institute
Mid Island Farmers’ Institute
Comox Valley Fireplace and Patio
Cumberland Community Forest Society
Elemental Energy Advisors
Focused Energy Assessments
Hancock Natural Resource Group
Hearth, Patio, & Barbeque Association of Canada
Six members of the public from the electoral areas and the municipalities (appointed by the CVRD Board)
Passive members do not attend the Roundtable meetings; rather, they receive meeting summary notes and have an opportunity to provide written feedback to the Air Quality Coordinator.
Passive members include:
Town of Comox
Peakflow Energy Solutions
Fire Chiefs Association
Mosaic Forest Management
CVRD’s Integrated Regional Transportation Select Committee
For more information, click here.