British Columbia

Parksville moves to limit wood stoves

A Vancouver Island community is working on a bylaw that could ban or limit the types of wood-burning stoves used to heat homes.

A councillor in Parksville, B.C. is working on a new bylaw to respond to smoke complaints

Wood-burning stoves are a trusted source of heat for many of the people who use them regularly. (Jane Adey/CBC)

A councillor in a Vancouver Island community is working on a bylaw that could ban or limit the types of wood-burning stoves used to heat homes.

Kirk Oates, a councillor in Parksville, B.C., is currently in consultation with residents about the exact form the bylaw would take.

"It's been raised as a concern by a number of people in the community," said Oates. "There seems to be a direct correlation between when the smoke hangs near the ground and when the complaints come in."

Oates said it's unlikely the bylaw would lead to a complete ban of wood-burning stoves. Instead, it could include a sunset clause that would allow those who currently heat their homes with wood to do so until their stove needs to be replaced.

"I don't have an appetite for coming in and being iron-fisted," said Oates.

Oates also heard from a number of residents who believe in using wood stoves as a sustainable form of heating.

A 2012 B.C. Air Quality report found that 61 per cent of wood stove users use one as a reliable source of heat during power outages.

Another issue in a small community like Parksville is the Canadian allure of sitting in a cabin with a fire burning at one's feet.

"It's a very difficult thing to come out and say that you're totally against it, because there's a certain amount of romance involved with a wood fire," said Oates.

Taking advantage of better technology

The answer, according to Oates, may lie in more efficient wood-burning appliances.

"Maybe there's an appropriate technology that we can have what we believe is a historical right and still be responsible to our neighbours and the environment," said Oates.

The province offers a wood stove rebate program to encourage residents to exchange older wood stoves for low-emission appliances, which can reduce emissions by up to 70 per cent.

According to a 2011 B.C. Air Quality report, one out of five local governments have bylaws regarding wood burning appliances, which range from banning the installation of non-certified wood burning appliances to removing non-certified appliances by a specified date.

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Parksville, B.C. moves to limit wood stoves


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?