UPPER NAPPAN – 'Wood First' will no longer be promoted by Cumberland County.
“Wood First, we put that motion through to try to promote the wood industry in the county,” said Keith Hunter, warden of the Municipality of Cumberland County, after Wednesdays meeting of county council. “But then we have concrete companies here too that we don’t want to be harmed by it, and why should we pick one over the other.”
The county adopted the Wood First policy about two year ago.
“We had quite a lobby from the Maritime Lumber Bureau and we heard the one side of the story and weren’t thinking about it hurting any other industry at that point,” said Hunter.
Atlantic Concrete Association president Alex Kennedy sent a letter to county CAO Rennie Bugley on July 8.
The letter says, “We have reviewed the promotional material presented by the Wood First lobby and consider it to not only encourage anti-competitive procurement policies, but is also misleading with claims that lumber is the most local and sustainable choice for building materials.”
The letter highlights the “high quality jobs” created by the concrete industry in Cumberland County. It was that argument that seemed sway council in its decision to rescind the policy during Wednesdays meeting.
“We have a couple of cement companies here too and we shouldn’t be crapping on them,” said councilor John Kelligrew.
Councilor Lynne Welton agreed.
“I would like to rescind that motion because we do have these concrete companies, and why would we want to be seen as supporting one industry over another,” said Welton.
Hunter said the Wood First policy wasn’t used in any county building projects since it was implemented.
“Because it was part of our policy we would have looked at wood first to help the industry out but nothing came up,” said Hunter. “With the rescinding of the motion wood will be a factor but so will concrete or any other building material for that matter, such as steel.”
The Atlantic Concrete Association welcomes fair competition from other material producers.
In their letter they said it is not their intention to, “crowd lumber out of any bidding process…we ask only to be given equal opportunity.”