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

Norse Heating

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

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