The provincial government is offering some cash to help people replace their old woodstoves with cleaner-burning models.

Among the 15 communities getting new funding for the exchange program this year are the Comox Valley Regional District at $29,000 and qathet Regional District at $14,000.

While Strathcona Regional District isn’t getting any new funding this year, it still has enough leftover from last year’s grant to continue to offer the program.

Burning wood creates significant air pollution by increasing particulate matter in the air. Also known as PM2.5, this fine particulate matter can cause health problems. The Wood Stove Exchange Program reduces local air pollution by helping people trade out old woodstoves for electric models or for cleaner-burning ones like gas, propane or pellet heating.

“This program is a step toward further reduction of the harms that can result from wood burning stoves,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “British Columbians, local governments, the Province and health experts all work together on this program that reduces carbon and other forms of pollution by switching to cleaner burning stoves or different technologies entirely.”

There are a variety of rebates you can apply for. You can get $250 for changing to a cleaner-burning wood stove, $400 for changing to a qualifying electric heat pump, gas or propane stove, or pellet-fuelled stove; and $500 for those who live in “Red Zone” communities.

Those are areas where fine particulate matter exceeds the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards. Residents there can use the money to change to a heat pump, gas or propane stove, or pellet-fuelled stove.

The annual woodstove exchange program has helped replace more than 8,000 old stoves with cleaner options. Since 2008, the Provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program has provided more than $3 million.