Horgan pledges to build museum, hospital with mass timber

The B.C. government will use its procurement powers on large public works projects, like the new $1.9 billion St. Paul’s Hospital, to promote mass timber products, and tackle a shrinking timber supply, stumpage rates and other issues facing the B.C. forestry industry with a new renewal initiative.

Premier John Horgan told delegates at the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) convention in Vancouver Friday, April 4, that his government will try to help the industry do more with less.

The Mountain pine beetle reduced the annual allowable cut by about half in B.C.’s interior, and wildfires in the last couple of years have taken another 2 million hectares.

Meanwhile, however, the demand for lumber and other woods products is high in the American and Asian markets. Horgan suggested the industry needs to adapt in order to get more value out of less timber.

One high value-added approach is mass timber products, like cross-laminated timber (CLT). One B.C. company, Structurlam, is already doing well in that market, and last month, Kalesnikoff Lumber announced plans to invest $35 million in a new CLT and glulam manufacturing plant in Castelgar.

In order promote more domestic use of mass timber products, the provincial government recently announced it is adopting provincial building code standards that will allow for buildings up to 12 storeys to be built with wood.

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