Wood First commitments reach milestone in BC

VANCOUVER, Nov. 18, 2011 /CNW/ - BC's Wood Enterprise Coalition (WEC) today congratulated Regional District of Kootenay Boundary on the passage of its new Wood First Resolution in support of the province's Wood First Act - making it the 40th local government in BC to pass a Wood First commitment.  The Wood Enterprise Coalition is a partnership of Wood WORKS! BC, BC Wood and FPInnovations. The Wood First Act, passed by the BC government in 2009, aims to increase demand for wood products by requiring provincially-funded projects to use wood where suitable and supported by the BC Building Code.

"We are very excited to reach this milestone in BC," stated Mary Tracey, executive director of Wood WORKS! BC and executive member of the Wood Enterprise Coalition.  "We congratulate the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, and each and every one of the other 39 local governments for demonstrating their leadership and vision, recognizing that a wood culture will lead us to a more sustainable way of life in the future of this province. The use of wood as a building material makes good sense from an environmental and aesthetic point of view, and also from an economic point of view."

"These Wood First commitments support our historic wood culture in BC; where forestry continues to play an integral role in supporting the well-being and prosperity of communities and regional districts in our province," added Ms. Tracey. It's estimated that 85,000 families depend on the forest and wood products manufacturing sector for their livelihood in BC, primarily in rural BC, but the industry is also recognized to be a strong economic engine for urban prosperity in the province.

"We are very proud to be the 40th community to support the Wood First Initiative in our province," explained Marguerite Rotvold, Chair, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.  "Maximizing the use of wood in our local projects makes sense as the wood industry is important to our regional economy.  Use of this renewable resource also supports our Green Building Policy, which requires design and development of projects with environmental, economic and social considerations."  Its new policy states, "The RDKB supports the ongoing development of a wood culture by considering that the structural and architectural features of RDKB buildings and facilities be constructed from wood, a sustainable, natural and renewable building material, in a cost-effective manner, taking into account the long-term and life cycle benefits to BC of building with wood."

Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell also extended his congratulations to Regional District of Kootenay Boundary and all BC local governments which have passed a commitment in support of the province's Wood First Initiative. "By recognizing the benefits of wood and embracing its use, these local governments are addressing climate change, supporting our forest industry and enhancing prosperity not only in their own communities but for all of us living in BC."

Communities with Wood First commitments range from the largest centre, the City of Surrey to the smallest - the village of Port Clements on the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

Campbell River | Gibsons | North Cowichan | Port Alberni | Port Hardy | Sechelt

Kootenay Boundary

Castlegar | Cranbrook | Fruitvale | Grand Forks | Kaslo | Midway | Nakusp | RD Kootenay Boundary

North Central

100 Mile House | Cariboo RD | Chetwynd | Fort St. James | Hazelton | Houston | Port Clements | Prince George | Queen Charlotte | Quesnel | Taylor | Terrace | Williams Lake

Southern Interior 

Armstrong | Chase | Columbia Shuswap RD | Enderby | Kelowna | Lumby | Merritt | North Okanagan RD | Princeton | Revelstoke | Spallumcheen

Lower Mainland 

Squamish | Surrey

Werner Hofstätter, the Wood First Advisor for Wood WORKS! BC and WEC, explained the benefits of a community adopting a Wood First commitment. "When passing a resolution or bylaw, a community benefits by having what are essentially guiding principles for use by designers, engineers and contractors," explained Mr. Hofstätter. "A resolution also underlines a community's desire for maximum use of wood in civic projects, which ultimately builds current and future prosperity for citizens by stimulating local wood industries and increasing local jobs."

Wood WORKS! is a national industry-led initiative of the Canadian Wood Council, with a goal to support innovation and provide leadership on the use of wood and wood products. Through workshops, seminars and case studies, Wood WORKS! provides education, training and technical expertise to building and design professionals involved with commercial, institutional and industrial construction projects throughout BC. BC Wood is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to growing British Columbia's secondary wood products manufacturing industry. FPInnovations works towards optimizing the forest sector value chain, developing new products and market opportunities within a framework of environmental sustainability.

"We now look forward to reaching the 50 mark for communities in the province with Wood First commitments," said Mary Tracey.  "We are asking communities to contact WEC as they pass Wood First policies, bylaws or resolutions, or if they need a little moral support to take the final step," concluded Ms. Tracey.  "Not only would we like to mark these exciting new developments in our province, but we'd also like to offer communities technical expertise, training and education to help make way for versatile, beautiful and cost-effective building and design solutions." WEC is a recognized resource to help BC communities with the new "build with wood" requirements on publicly-funded projects, and its expertise is available free-of-charge.

Image with caption: "Mary Tracey, Executive Director of Wood WORKS! BC (CNW Group/Canadian Wood Council for Wood WORKS! BC)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20111118_C7313_PHOTO_EN_6819.jpg

SOURCE Canadian Wood Council for Wood WORKS! BC

For further information:

For more information, please visit www.wecbc.ca or contact WEC executive members:

Mary Tracey, Executive Director - Wood WORKS! BC 1.877.929.9663 (1)
Erol Karacabeyli, Manager, Building Systems, FPInnovations  604.224.3221
Brian Hawrysh, CEO, BC Wood  604.882.7100


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