The B.C. government is taking steps to strengthen its forest and timber industry by implementing mass timber into the construction of buildings.
Premier John Horgan has appointed Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, to lead the expansion and use of mass timber in B.C. buildings.
“As our economy bounces back from the COVID-19 crisis, we want to do everything we can to support forest workers,” said Premier Horgan. “By focusing on mass timber, we have an opportunity to transition the forestry sector to high-value over high-volume production. This will mean opportunities for local workers, strong partnerships with First Nations and greater economic opportunity while making a significant contribution to advancing CleanBC.”
Last year, government announced its intention to encourage the increased use of mass timber building products in its capital construction programs, particularly in the development of the new St. Paul’s Hospital and the replacement of the Royal BC Museum.
Kahlon will engage with local governments, industry and the construction sector as part of his new mandate. He will also create and chair a joint industry/government steering committee, which will meet semi-annually, to provide guidance and advice to the government’s efforts.
“Expanding the use of sustainably harvested, low-carbon wood products in B.C. buildings will help combat climate change and support getting people back to work in forestry-related jobs across the province,” said Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO, BC Council of Forest Industries. “We know that B.C. can become the ‘Harvard of green building,’ the place the world looks to for the next big idea on how to use our forest resources to support better choices for the planet.”
This announcement builds on work announced by government last year, when 13 B.C. communities committed to adopting innovative and safe mass timber technology for taller wood buildings that are faster to build, better for the environment and create new jobs and opportunities for forest communities in the province.