The Cowichan Valley Regional District has launched its woodstove rebate program and through it, people can get up to $2,000 dollars in rebates to switch to a cleaner option.

Part of the need for this program is the fact that here in the Cowichan Valley, hospital admission rates for children with respiratory illnesses are 70 percent higher than the provincial average.

Environmental Technologist with the CVRD Ilse Sarady said the major concern with wood burning stoves is the material that can enter someone’s respiratory system, causing breathing problems.

“Fine particulate matter tends to travel really deep in people’s lungs, where they can cause breathing problems and heart problems,” said Sarady.

She added, “In our collaboration with the BC Lung (Association) and the Vancouver Island Health (Authority), we’re trying to reduce wood smoke to improve the health and well-being of our residents in the Cowichan Valley.”

BC residents over 45-years-old are 50 percent more likely to develop chronic respiratory illnesses than their counterparts in the rest of the country.

Sarady said these rebates can go toward the purchase of a heat pump.

“It’s a significant rebate for upgrading to heat pumps because they’re so clean and heat pumps tend to be very expensive, so we’re offering a big incentive for that and a smalle incentive for upgrading to a more efficient woodstove,” said Sarady.

The deadline to apply is November 30 or when the CVRD runs out of rebate money, whichever comes first.

For more information about the woodstove rebate program, click here.