Air Quality in the Central Okanagan
The Air Quality Program is a joint initiative between the City of Kelowna, Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO), District of Peachland, City of West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and the District of Lake Country.
The program aims to protect and improve air quality in the Central Okanagan through education, awareness and pollution prevention. The 2007 Air Quality Management plan identified open burning and residential wood burning as the two main causes of degraded air quality in the Central Okanagan; however, recent emissions data also highlights the increasing importance of vehicle emissions. After six years of implementation, the Regional District evaluated the progress made on reducing air pollution and updated the goals, strategies and actions for continuing to manage air pollution in the Central Okanagan for the next five years and beyond.
The Central Okanagan Clean Air Strategy, updated in 2015, defines the Clean Air Vision and Goals, and outlines a set of strategies and actions to take on over the next 5 years to help the region achieve these. Input was gathered from a multi-stakeholder advisory group, staff members from the regional partners, and from the general public.
Clean Air Vision and Goals
Vision Clean and healthy air for current and future generations.
- The health of citizens and the environment is protected.
- Citizens and visitors enjoy clear views of the region’s stunning landscape.
Regional greenhouse gas emissions are minimized.
This vision and goals will be accomplished by:
- Citizens, businesses and governments making choices that minimize pollution.
- Communities designed to make it easy for citizens and businesses to minimize pollution.
The strategies and actions identified for working towards the vision and goals were organized into five topic areas:
Sixteen strategies in five topic areas were identified to help achieve the Clean Air Vision and Goals. For each strategy identified, several specific actions are identified in this new plan.
Regional Airshed Management Plan/Clean Air Strategy Overview
A new Regional Airshed Management plan got underway in late 2012 and was divided into two phases:
Phase I - Research and review
This phase identified the current state of air quality in the Central Okanagan, evaluated the progress made to date in managing activities that impact local air quality, and highlighted potential strategies for inclusion in the updated plan during Phase II of the project.
Phase II - Consultation and preparation of the final plan
A new mission, identification of general goals, objectives and targets, estimated costs of actions and possible programs were included in the plan.
An advisory group was formed to guide the overall plan development and provide expertise and advice. Local government staff and key stakeholder representatives participated and contributed ideas during the updating process of the Regional Airshed Management Plan of the Central Okanagan, including: Interior Health, Ministry of Environment (provincial), Environment Canada, Health Canada, and representatives from all local government partners.
In February 2014, the Regional Airshed Management Phase I - Research and Review - was completed and the progress report was presented to the Regional Governance and Services Committee for approval to move forward with Phase II.
Phase II included a public consultation and the preparation of the final plan.
From April 23 to May 6, 2014, the public had an opportunity to input ideas to update the goals, strategies, and actions of the 2007 Air Quality Management Plan. Thanks again to all for participating in this online feedback forum.
For the purpose of public engagement, the name of the Regional Airshed Management Plan was changed to "Central Okanagan Clean Air Strategy".
On February 12th 2015, the Clean Air Strategy was approved in principle by the RDCO Board. The Clean Air Committee set out to identify funding opportunities, cost efficiencies and make some budget amendments to mitigate the financial impact in years 2-5. A report to the Board on these tasks is expected in October 2015 for final review and approval.
Regional Air Quality Coordinator