PGAIR: A multi-stakeholder approach to air quality in Prince George
Clean air contributes to a healthy community and a sustainable economy, and in Prince George, a multi-stakeholder group is working together to improve air quality.
The Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable (PGAIR) is a community based, non-profit society that includes representatives from the general public, business, industry, community groups, government, UNBC, and Northern Health. PGAIR researches, monitors, recommends and implements air quality improvements and promotes public awareness and education in the Prince George airshed.
PGAIR is partly funded by the City of Prince George, and aims to at least double every dollar provided by the city with funds from outside the community.
PGAIR develops management plans, as well as public education and awareness programs, including, the Woodstove Exchange Program and Burn It Clean, Drive Smart!, Idling Hotspot Map, Drive Smart Pledge Form, Citizen’s Toolkit for Clean Air.
In 1998, recommendations from the Prince George Air Quality Management Plan (Phase One) kicked off the first phase of an ongoing process of reducing or preventing increases in emission sources and monitoring air quality in the Prince George airshed. PGAIR’s precursor, the Prince George Air Implementation Committee, was formed in response to these recommendations. PGAIR reorganized as a non-profit society in 2008.
The following organizations and groups are represented as members and directors of PGAIR:
- General public
- BC Ministry of Environment
- BC Ministry of Transportation
- Northern Health
- City of Prince George
- First Nations
- Regional District of Fraser-Fort George
- Canadian Pulp and Paper Limited
- CN Rail
- Husky Energy
- Primary Wood Processing
- Secondary Wood & Bioenergy Processing
- Asphalt, Cement and Gravel
- University of Northern British Columbia
- Prince George Chamber of Commerce
- Prince George & District Medical Society
- Environmental Society with Interest in Air Quality (PACHA)
- Fraser Basin Council
Summary of the process
Phase One of the original 1998 Management Plan focused on ways to reduce PM10 (fine particulate matter), including sources from wood smoke, backyard burning, dust, vehicle and industrial emissions. Since then, burning restrictions and more stringent requirements related to sweeping, paving and sanding have been developed. Phase One also addressed land use planning issues, air quality episode management, and monitoring and research required to measure progress and to identify future management needs.
Prince George Air Quality Management Plan – Phase One (1998)
The Progress Report of the Air Quality Management Plan was prepared by the Prince George Air Quality Implementation Committee in 2004. It was based on input and information gathered during the previous five years. The Progress Report identifies the Phase One recommendations that had been completed to that date, as well as further work that needed to be done. It also provides a review of air quality trends and other monitoring results available at the time.
Prince George Air Quality Management Plan – Phase One Progress Report (2004)
In 2006, Phase Two of the management plan involved research to complete an emission inventory for modelling contributions of all air pollution sources, and to determine the effectiveness of various reduction measures. PGAIR also worked on reducing particulate matter, taking action on 42 recommendations.
Prince George Air Quality Management Plan – Phase Two (2006)
Phase Three is underway and working toward reduction of all significant air pollution sources by 40 per cent by 2016.
In March 2013, PGAIR hosted the North Central BC Clean Air Forum, which brought together air quality managers from communities in North Central BC, as well as researchers, health professionals, educators, and representatives from the industrial, commercial, transportation, and public sectors to provide an opportunity for discussions on the relationship between air quality and their communities’ economic, social, and environmental vision for the future. Further information, with presentations and group discussion materials are available here:
Key Outcomes and Impact
- Development of air quality management plans
- Phasing out of beehive burners in the Prince George airshed
- Wood stove exchange program removed 20 tonnes of particulate matter annually from the airshed
- Particulate matter pollutant reports on an annual basis
- Idle Free Zones public awareness efforts and Vehicle Emission clinics ongoing
- Citizen’s Toolkit for Clean Air developed
- 2011-2012 Prince George Neighborhood Volatile Organic Compound Sampling Program Report. BC Ministry of Environment.
- Air Quality and Health Resources Package for Educators in Prince George
Mail: P.O. Box 322 Prince George, BC V2L 4S2