Northeastern Ontario stands to benefit from a FedNor investment in the Canadian Wood Council’s Ontario Wood Works initiative.
The $907,875 contribution was announced Friday morning by Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota at the Metric Aid office on McIntyre Street W. in North Bay.
“This is for work right across the country,” Rota explained.
“It’s going to promote the local economy by creating jobs here, and (forestry) is something we know in this area.”
The investment will support manufacturers, producers and communities in Northern Ontario that depend on forestry and the wood industry and create and maintain jobs in the forestry sector, Rota said, while helping to diversity the industry and boost awareness of the industry.
“It promotes the use of wood in construction which in turn promotes the local economy.”
Changes to the Ontario Building Code recently came into effect that allows the construction of wooden structures up to six storeys in height. Taller structures have been and are being built across the country, including an 18-storey building under construction in Vancouver, according to Etienne Lalonde, national director of the Canadian Wood Council.
“That is the largest wood structure in the world,” Lalonde said.
He said new technologies and new markets are being developed all the time.
Marianne Berube, executive director of Wood Works Ontario, said that while the new codes have just been implemented in Ontario, there is a lot of potential in the future.
“There is a lot of education involved in this,” she said, with many events aimed at builders, engineers and architects sold out.
“The marketplace is changing,” Lalonde said.
“There is so much more that can be done,” Berube said. “We can continue to improve, introduce new products and create new markets.”
She said mid-rise wooden buildings are gaining a lot of attention in southern Ontario, which represents 40 per cent of national construction.
Many mid-rise projects, Berube said, are no longer affordable if built with concrete, while wood construction is “the affordable alternative.”
She said social housing, seniors residences, student residences and offices can turn to wood instead.
“There is still a lot of work to do, but looking ahead, we are seeing many demonstration projects going up across Canada.”