Air Quality Bylaws
What is nuisance smoke?
The City of Courtenay considers nuisance smoke to be:
a. Smoke that visibly drifts onto an adjacent property;
b. Smoke that interferes with a person's use and enjoyment of privately-owned real property; or
c. Smoke that interferes with a person's use or enjoyment of public property including sidewalks, roadways, and parks.
Persistent smoke that meets these criteria, is considered a nuisance. The City of Courtenay will work with residents to seek voluntary compliance, with enforcement measures used in cases of continued non-compliance.
More information: Prevention of Public Nuisances Bylaw[PDF - 155 KB]
How can I prevent my wood burning appliance from emitting nuisance smoke?
1. Limit the use of your wood burning appliance. Do not rely on wood burning appliances as a primary heat source. Consider upgrading your primary home heat source, if required.
2. Check your chimney to see how far the smoke is spreading. If the smoke disperses before it reaches a nearby property, sidewalk, road or park, it is not likely causing a nuisance.
3. If the smoke does not disperse, consider the ways to reduce the smoke.
- Ensure your appliance is working properly and is maintained correctly. Clean your chimney, and consult a service provider if required.
- Verify that your wood is adequately dry and has a moisture content of less than 20%. Free moisture meters are available at the Comox Valley Regional District office at 770 Harmston Avenue in Courtenay (while supplies last).
- Avoid damping down the fire overnight. Hot-burning fires emit less smoke.
4. If you are unsure if your chimney is causing a nuisance, ask your neighbours.
- 2023 Wood Smoke Reduction Program
- BC Provincial Recommended Wood Burning Practices
- Health Canada - Tips to reduce the impacts of wood smoke
I rent my home, and it is equipped with a wood burning appliance. Could I be responsible for nuisance wood burning?
City of Courtenay Bylaw Enforcement will work with the occupant of the home to seek voluntary compliance with the nuisance bylaw. The occupant may be a renter or a home owner. Solutions to achieve compliance will vary in each circumstance, and may require the cooperation of both the renter and the owner.
Where does the Nuisance bylaw apply?
The bylaw applies to all properties within the City of Courtenay municipal boundary. The bylaw does not apply to smoke that originates outside the City of Courtenay municipal boundary. Check City map boundaries here.
How can I report nuisance smoke?
Any person impacted by nuisance wood smoke can contact City of Courtenay Bylaw Enforcement by email or phone. To assist with follow-up, please provide the address emitting nuisance smoke, and any pictures or videos of the incident.