Skip to content

Chilliwack city councillor sounds alarm about potentially high radon levels in local homes

Presence of radon has implications for property buyers, sellers, and municipalities
Radon kits were handed out last fall by Chilliwack city hall for home testing. (City of Chilliwack)

A Chilliwack city councillor is sounding the alarm over concerns that homeowners may be unaware of the implications of having high levels of radon gas in their homes.

Communities to the east and west of Chilliwack, in Hope and Abbotsford, already require radon mitigation systems to be roughed in at the time of new construction, Coun. Chris Kloot pointed out.

But he wondered how many Chilliwack homeowners are in fact aware of the radon situation, as the whole topic was “evolving” with goalposts shifting.

Kloot peppered City of Chilliwack staff with questions during the council meeting Tuesday (April 18), which were addressed by Environmental Services manager Tara Friesen.

“We know that radon is a known carcinogen that’s present in all our homes, and because of some of the recent findings of high levels in our community by the Gore brothers, the City and FVRD were engaged to take action where they gave out testing kits last fall,” Kloot said.

The community level of overall awareness of the presence of radon, an odourless, colourless gas, has implications for real-estate buyers and sellers, as well as municipalities, he underlined.

It all came up at the April 14 meeting of the government-relations committee of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board that he attended, prompting Kloot to reiterate some of those questions at the council table.

Kloot pointed out that radon-related questions had been added to the latest property-disclosure statement form.

One example is: ‘To the best of your knowledge has the premises been tested for radon?’ and if so, what levels were detected.

If the test results show 200 becquerels or higher and remediation hasn’t been done, it is the duty of the homeowner to disclose this as a “material latent defect.”

Many people are wholly unaware the question might come up, the councillor said.

Another example question for sellers: ‘Is there a radon mitigation system on the premises?’

RELATED: Brother and sister wage war on radon

It all could mean that Chilliwack will one day be joining Hope and Abbotsford in adding a requirement to its building code requirements for new construction. That will be decided pending the upcoming results of the radon testing locally being compiled in a summary report, and sent to city officials for analysis.

Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL) branches are currently lending out home radon testing kits, for anyone that didn’t get in on last fall’s pilot project. Also they’re for sale online.

“I have one plugged in at home,” Kloot said about the loaner kits from the library.

Coun. Harv Westeringh said it was an “eye-opener” for him as well when radon came up recently.

If there does turn out to be high radon levels in Chilliwack “then we’ll bring that forward to council to make the necessary changes to our building code,” Westeringh said.

City staffer Friesen explained that City of Chilliwack joined last fall in the national Radon Test Kit Challenge from Take Action on Radon, partnership with Health Canada.

It involved initially 100 test kits, and eventually more than 400 Chilliwack households had a radon testing kit in their homes, followed by test-kit drop-offs at city hall in March.

The test results came in “ in staggered” fashion before being sent on to the lab for analysis, and they’re awaiting results.

RELATED: Residents picked up radon kits from city hall last fall

“We’re hoping sometime in May or June we will get that information,” Friesen said about the anticipated summary report.

Staff will review the data, and decide the appropriate “next steps,” for the municipality, she told council.

“When the B.C. building code was updated in 2018, the provincial government added the requirement for a radon mitigation system for the communities of Abbotsford and Hope, but for some reason did not include Chilliwack in that change,” Friesen said.

“We have been told we can request that change with some substantiation.

More details at, includes what are safe radon levels, how to get a testing kit and more.

Radon gas has no colour, and no odour. It forms underground from soil and rocks breaking down and gets indoors through foundation cracks, sump pumps and more.

More info:

Do you have something to add to this story, or a news tip? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
Read more