Funding boost for South Canterbury winter heating subsidies

Environment Canterbury has increased funding for the South Canterbury home heating subsidy to $300,000 for the current financial year (from July 1, 2017). This represents an increase of $100,000.

Subsidies of between $500 and $5000 are available to qualifying low-income households that want to replace their older wood burner with a low emission model or a heat pump.

Supporting the community to achieve the low emission woodburner goals

“Understandably, Timaru people with older wood burners are worried about the cost and hassle of having to replace them if the burner is 15 years or older,” said Environment Canterbury South Canterbury councillor Peter Scott.

“We appreciate there is a community of devout wood burner users in Timaru who like the cosy heat and ambience of a real fire, and we want to help them make the change to smoke-free fires so that Timaru’s winter air quality can be improved and everyone can breathe easy.  So we’ve made sure there is plenty of money available for Timaru people who need financial help upgrading their burner to a low emission model in time for next winter,” he said.

In Timaru, all older-style wood burners 15 years old or more can be replaced with a low emission wood burner provided a building consent has been applied for from the Timaru District Council by October 31, 2017.

“We understand that people may not get their consent stamped or approved before this date, but we do need evidence it has been applied for,” Mr Scott said.

Finding advice

Timaru Senior Citizens organisation is offering a free phone or drop-in advice service for people worried about their older wood burner and how they can afford to replace it.

Robyn Baldwin, Community Support Coordinator for Timaru Senior Citizens is keen for older people worried about their wood burner situation to phone 03 687 7581 or drop in to the centre in Community House in Strathallan Street.

“We’ve had calls from people who are worried about the deadline and upset about the expense of having to get a new wood burner, but there are a lot of misconceptions out there and unnecessary worry too.  So I’m only too happy to talk to people and answer their questions,” Robyn Baldwin said.

“I’d hate to think there were people afraid to use their fire or anxious about the expense of switching over to a low emission burner.  They’re welcome to give me a call.”

Mr Scott said wood burners were a great source of heat for a cosy home. “We want everyone to be warm this winter,” he said.

How to apply for financial assistance

“It’s easy to apply for financial help. Visit our home heating page, call 03 687 7581 or drop into Timaru Senior Citizens, or go to the Energy Smart website if you want to install a heat pump instead of a wood burner.

“People can keep using their older wood burners this winter, but next winter a cleaner burning heat source will be necessary if Timaru is to enjoy cleaner, healthier air.”

Pop-up shop opening on 11 July

On July 11, Environment Canterbury is opening a pop-up shop at 302 Stafford Street, where Top Shop used to be.  Staff will be on hand to answer questions about wood burners and will have a couple of computers on hand to guide people through applying online for financial assistance.  They will also be able to provide information about entering the competition for one of ten free wood burners on offer.

Read more about authorised woodburners and financial assistance.