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Air Quality Council

Be Air Quality Aware!

Air Quality Council Air Quality Message for Early Summer 2024

Be prepared for wildfire season. Here is what you can do to protect yourself and your family.

Be well informed:

Know about air quality in Canada (BCCDC, Alberni Valley News) and in Port Alberni. Learn about air quality measurements, PM2.5 fine particulate air pollution, and how smoke can affect health (Health Canada, BCCDC). Check websites such as IQAir, PurpleAir, UNBC PM2.5, Alberniweather, BC Wildfire Service, and FireSmoke regularly, register for ACRD Emergency Alerts, and consider using WeatherCAN on your smartphone. Also, be aware of the Community Wood Smoke Reduction Program, because summer can be a good time to upgrade your home heating system.

Plan and prepare:

Understand how to protect yourself and your family (Health Canada, BCCDC), consider buying or building one or more air purifiers / air cleaners / air filters for your home (Health Canada, BCCDC, BCLung, AQC), and consider being a citizen scientist by purchasing an air quality monitor (e.g. Temtop model P10 for indoors, or a PurpleAir device) and personal protective equipment. Have at least several days of supplies on hand and be prepared to shelter in your home.

Be aware of special health risks:

Take special care if wildfire smoke is combined with extreme heat (Health Canada, BCCDC), if you are planning to exercise, or if you are pregnant. If you have a respiratory, heart, or other health condition, talk to your doctor and make a health management plan.

Key Air Quality Facts

  • Every year, approximately 10,000 Canadians lose their lives as a result of fine particulate (PM2.5) air pollution according to the Health Impacts of Air Pollution in Canada 2021 Report.
  • Port Alberni, which experiences stagnant air events such as temperature inversions, is a "red/orange zone" for PM2.5 fine particulate air pollution, according to the Air Zone Management Response for British Columbia 2019 Report.

Radio public service announcements

The Port Alberni Air Quality Council is on your radio, at The Peak 93.3 FM. Starting in March 2024, be sure to tune us in on Thursdays between 4:30 and 5pm to hear our new "Crash and Amy" messages about air quality in the Alberni Valley! Our messages will run at other times, too.

Please consider volunteering with AQC, and send your comments and questions to us at aqc.coordinator@gmail.com.

BACKYARD BRUSH BURNING

Backyard brush burning is permitted only at specific times of the year - from March 1 through April 30, as well as from September 15 to November 15. For more information, visit ACRD burning bylaws.

For residents of Port Alberni, backyard burning is limited to small campfires up to 0.5 metres wide. For more information, please visit City of Port Alberni burning regulations

Please burn only on days when our Ventilation Index is "good," and when the next day's Index is forecast to be "good" or "fair." For more details, visit the Ventilation Index Map and the Ventilation Index Text Version.

Never burn garbage, plastics, or other substances that can produce toxic smoke. Refer to Outdoor Burning Information, Backyard and Land Clearing Burning, and Outdoor Burning Smoke Control Regulation Bylaw before burning.

About us

The Air Quality Council (AQC) was formed in 2003 as a working group with representation from the City of Port Alberni, ACRD, Ministry of Environment, Environment Canada, Catalyst Port Alberni, Alberni Environmental Coalition, First Nations, and the medical community. The AQC serves to promote health by working to ensure the cleanest possible air for the Alberni Basin and its inhabitants.

MISSION STATEMENT: The Port Alberni Air Quality Council serves to promote health by working to ensure the cleanest possible air for the Alberni Basin and its inhabitants.

The AQC is a multi-stakeholder initiative in the Alberni Basin that is dedicated to airshed management and air quality monitoring, research and education. It provides a community forum for stakeholders that represent various government agencies, local industry representatives, health authorities, community members at large and air quality advocates to work collaboratively together to improve air quality within the Alberni region.

The objective of the AQC is to act as a communication platform where stakeholders and decision makers come to work collaboratively. The platform is designed to act as an efficient and effective information-sharing venue, which will result in the overall improvement of the Alberni Valley airshed. Engagement and thoughtful dialogue of the AQC's collective stakeholders, along with feedback from the community, help support policy making and define strategic priorities for projects, partnerships, and research as directed by the Alberni Air Quality Society.

How can you be involved?

  • Like us on Facebook Facebook Air Quality Council
  • Think of ways that you can reduce your impact and challenge yourself to reduce your emissions
  • Look at this this infographic to learn more about air quality in the Alberni Valley

Air Quality Council Goals

  • Act as a lead steward in the development and implementation of the Airshed Management Plan
  • Address the impacts of climate change and carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere
  • Seek the co-operation of all agencies and stakeholders in promoting and protecting clean air
  • Facilitate information sharing between public and private sectors
  • Educate and inform the community regarding air quality issues and ways to mitigate pollutants to ensure a healthy airshed
  • To take seriously our responsibility for air quality within a regional, provincial, national and global context, including greenhouse gas emissions and climate change
  • Encourage clean air lifestyles and business practices
  • Integrate regional air quality goals into local government policies, including land use and transportation management
  • Ensure comprehensive monitoring of air quality
  • Connect and collaborate with other community groups with an air quality focus
  • Obtain funding for airshed planning and improvement

Air Quality Council Members 2024

    • ACRD Board Representative: Mike Sparrow
    • City of Port Alberni Representatives: Todd Patola and Andrea Alexander
    • Port Alberni Fire Chief: Mike Owens and Travis Cross
    • BC Ministry of Environment Air Quality Meteorologist: Nick Davey
    • BC Ministry of Environment Conservation Officer: Daniel Eichstadter
    • Island Health Environmental Health Officer: Stephanie Bruvall and Leni Rose
    • Catalyst Paper Environmental Manager: Larry Cross
    • Catalyst Paper: Jason Seabrook and Dylan Weber
    • MLA's Office: vacant
    • Alberni Air Quality Society Representative: Judy Carlson and Arne Elias
    • SD 70 Representative: Pam Craig
    • Chair: Ken McBride
Some of the annual activities of the AQC include:

  • Providing consultation, when requested, for MOE (ie. intentions papers, development of educational resources, etc.), Island Health, local government (OCP, SWMP, complaints, etc), businesses, media, and community groups.
  • Attending the two main provincial air quality forums (BC Clean Air Forum presented by the Fraser Basin Council; Air Quality and Health Conference presented by BC Lung)
  • Responding to complaints and air quality related referrals.
  • Strategic airshed management planning.
  • Related community planning (ie. traffic patterns, idling policy, OCP) and bylaw development.
  • Continuing education regarding residential and industrial pollution, best practices, and mitigation strategies.
  • Meetings and information exchange within the council itself, with the ACRD, with the city, and with related groups such as the Clean Air BC Network.
Thank you to our generous sponsors:
MoEACRD

AQC Project History

Over the years, the AQC has selected project themes to focus its direction and actions:

Project I - Clear the Air
Project II - Fine Particulate Sampling
Project III - Backyard Burning
Project IV - Proposal for Pilot Dioxin Testing
Project V - Air Quality Education
Project VI - Port Alberni Woodstove Exchange
Project VII - Inventory of Air Quality Bylaws on Vancouver Island
Project VIII - Port Alberni Woodstove Exchange II
Project IX - ACRD Air Quality Web Page Production
Project X - Burn It Smart
Project XI - Wood-Heating Appliance Survey

For photos and a full description of each project go to:

AQC Project Descriptions

Contacts

  • Fires outside Port Alberni: call the RAPP line (1-877-952-7277) or submit a report online (link)
  • Fires in Port Alberni: contact the City of Port Alberni Fire Department
  • Non-emergencies: Call 250-724-1351
  • Emergencies: Call 911