AMHERST – The federal government and four Atlantic governments have renewed their commitment to the Maritime Lumber Bureau’s WoodWORKS! program.
The program aims to increase the use of locally produced solid wood materials in the non-residential building sector in Atlantic Canada.
Through Atlantic WoodWORKS!, the MLB will continue to carry out activities that provide education, training and technical expertise to building and design professionals involved in commercial, institutional and industrial construction projects in Atlantic Canada.
“Our proven track record of what is possible when we work collectively as an Atlantic region makes this project an excellent fit for the Atlantic Canadian producers of forest-based products, both primary and secondary,” Maritime Lumber Bureau president and CEO Diana Blenkhorn said. “The successes of the first two years of operation surpassed our expectations; the anticipated accomplishments going forward should ensure that all of the various funders’ objectives are met and exceeded.”
The goal of these activities is to demonstrate that wood, as a building material, is a renewable and responsible choice that helps in meeting performance and environmental objectives by lowering a project’s carbon footprint. The lumber bureau will also continue efforts to advocate for building code changes that would allow the use of wood in commercial structures as high as six stories.
The federal government, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, is investing $491,368 over the next two years, in addition to the initial investment of $317,181 in 2011.
“Our government is committed to creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. That’s why we are pleased to further invest in Atlantic WoodWORKS!, an initiative that has a proven record of success,” Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opporunities Agency) Rob Moore said. “The Maritime Lumber Bureau’s efforts in promoting the economic and environmental benefits of building with Atlantic Canadian solid wood materials are helping to diversify and increase the demand for our region’s high-quality wood products here at home, and are thus helping to strengthen this important industry.”
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are each investing $50,000 over the next two years, while the Maritime Lumber Bureau and the Canadian Wood Council and the wood products industry are investing $316,879.
Since the governments’ initial investments three years ago, a number of successful activities have been carried out, including industry design tours, lunch and learn activities, participation in trade shows and fairs, and wood design seminars that were attended by nearly 670 industry representatives.
Data shows that these activities contributed to an increase in the use of locally produced solid wood products in non-residential construction projects in Atlantic Canada, thus helping to reduce the sector’s dependency on traditional export markets.
Over the same period, there has also been an increase in enquiries about the Atlantic WoodWORKS! initiative from commercial builders.
In 2010, the forestry sector contributed $1.9 billion to the region’s economy, employed approximately 21,000 people and exported $2.6 billion in products.