PARRSBORO - The town of Parrsboro is promoting "wood first" as its construction material of choice.
Council adopted the resolution at its Jan. 24 monthly session, after they were given a presentation from Maritime Lumber Bureau employee Kevin Merriam, becoming the first municipality in Atlantic Canada to take such a step.
The resolution, as read by Mayor Lois Smith, states that Parrsboro will continue supporting the development of "wood culture" by striving to use wood materials.
"The idea is, whenever feasible, to use wood first when building new construction or adding on," said deputy mayor Lisa Ward.
The resolution makes note of the small carbon footprint created by wood construction, describing it as the material with the "lowest environmental impact."
It does not bind the town to any decisions, but is "just a recognition of the forestry industry," according to the mayor.
Because of the "lack of teeth" in the resolution, Coun. David Howe did not vote against the motion, although he did express some reservations about the decision, mainly due to the lack of available information.
"I would point out that all we know about this is what Kevin Merriam told us, and he's paid to say that... he's a salesman," said Howe. "I don't know whether this is reasonable or if concrete people would come and say the same thing."
Howe also raised the question of whether the Nova Scotia forestry resource could sustain the demand if other municipalities adopted a similar resolution.
"Is there going to be clear cutting? Is there going to be enough wood?" he asked.
Coun. David Harrison, who has a professional background in the forestry industry, assured that, if every municipal building in Nova Scotia was built out of wood, it would be just a "drop in the bucket" compared to what is produced. Parrsboro town council has been discussing the construction of a new town hall for some time now.
"This is as much about buying local and supporting forestry as one of the four ‘F's of Nova Scotia," said Harrison.
Merriam, a Parrsboro native and technical advisor for Atlantic WoodWORKS!, a program of the Maritime Lumber Bureau, said the bureau was contacted by representatives of Parrsboro town council after he delivered a Wood First message at the 2010 Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities (UNSM) annual general meeting, and asked to deliver a similar presentation to council.
Since that time, Atlantic WoodWORKS! Was officially launched in Atlantic Canada, and draft Wood First resolutions were delivered to more than 300 municipalities in the region. Parrsboro is the first to adopt the resolution.
"This makes Parrsboro the first town or municipality in Atlantic Canada to come forward as a wood champion and implement a Wood First resolution," said Merriam. "Other municipalities are currently reviewing the resolution for implementation. However, Parrsboro was the first."
Atlantic WoodWORKS! is an industry led, federally and provincially supported project that educates stakeholders about the economic and environmental benefits of wood construction.