The City of Courtenay is launching efforts that will increase access to information on local air quality, with up to 10 new air quality monitors at various locations throughout the city over the coming months.
PurpleAir monitors will be installed on public facilities, adding to existing air quality monitors in public and private locations. Proposed locations for the new monitors include local government and school district facilities.
Courtenay often experiences poor air quality during winter evenings, when wood burning appliances are used to keep warm. The new monitors will observe how levels of fine particulates vary throughout the day, and across the city. Everyone will be able to access the information, helping residents learn more about air quality in their neighbourhood. Over time, data collected from multiple locations across the city will more precisely reflect Courtenay’s collective progress towards improving local air quality.
“There has been a lot of dialogue about local air quality over the past few years,” said Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells. “It’s been a hot topic, if you’ll forgive the pun. These new monitors will help our community become more informed on the issue, and identify particular areas that might be of increased concern where we can focus our resources on finding solutions.”
In addition to the new air quality monitors, Courtenay is also launching a public awareness campaign to share information and resources on wood smoke impacts and solutions, with tools and resources shared online and in print over the coming weeks.
Exposure to wood smoke can cause or worsen health conditions like asthma or COPD, reduce lung function, and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, among other health impacts.
Last fall, Courtenay updated the Prevention of Public Nuisance Bylaw to regulate excessive and persistent wood smoke that drifts onto adjacent private or public property, giving the city new enforcement tools to seek voluntary compliance, and consider additional enforcement measures where appropriate.
Households with wood burning appliances are encouraged to save them for power outages or extreme weather, and to use a cleaner option as a primary heat source. For those interested in upgrading their home heating, various rebates are available through government and utility authorities, potentially saving thousands towards the installation of a new home heating appliance.
For more information on wood smoke impacts and solutions, including links to air quality information and rebates for home heating appliance upgrades, visit