Squamish has some good quality air and the Sea to Sky Clean Air Society (SSCAS) aims at keeping it that way.
“Essentially, we've got great air here,” Kim Slater said. “We are really working on protecting our airshed.”
The biggest threat to air quality is posed by the improved Highway 99, the SSCAS executive director told Squamish council while providing a year-end overview of the society's work. In an effort to cut vehicle emissions, the organization initiated Squamish's Bike to Work Week. Twenty-five teams registered for the event, which promotes bicycles as a form of transportation.
Last spring, the society also hosted Compute the Commute at the Squamish Adventure Centre. The event invited stakeholders to team together and explore transportation options throughout the corridor.
While transportation continues to be the society's key focus, SSCAS also aids the replacement of old woodstoves, Slater noted. This year, the society handed out 110 rebates to residents who upgraded their stoves to cleaner-burning models.
In 2013, the society will host a second Compute the Commute event and start an anti-idling initiative. The organization is also eyeing a tree planting project with the Squamish River Watershed Society.
“We are actually helping to do another emissions inventory,” Slater added.
Over the past three months, the society's members have submitted funding applications to three foundations for a combined $95,600. The organization was granted $10,000 from the Ministry of Environment to develop a burning and smoke control strategic package.
If all the money is awarded to the society, it will more than double the organization's budget. In 2012, SSCAS received $35,208 in revenue. The lion's share of that money was spent on salaries — $26,254.34. That's followed by $4,500 shoved into woodstove exchange program, $2,024.35 on events, meetings and travel and $1,386.69 on overhead.
The organization was formed in 2010 to carry out the corridor's Air Quality Management Plan. At the time, a report recommended the formation of a paid position, Slater said. Like most non-profit organizations, the society's main expense is staff, she noted, adding SSCAS is always looking for volunteers to help carry the workload.
On Jan. 9, the society is hosting a meeting of stakeholders on a new Burning and Smoke Control Framework for the Sea to Sky/Howe Sound airshed. The meeting, which takes place at Totem Hall, will see participants review existing policies related to burning, obstacles to an effective waste management and residual wood management policy and opportunities to minimize emissions and improve air quality. Those interested in attend are asked to contact Slater at (604) 698-7697 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the society and its programs visit www.seatoskyairquality.ca.