Wood WORKS! recognizes 37 local governments in British Columbia for supporting Wood First Act, promoting use of wood in public buildings

VANCOUVER, B.C. , September 28, 2011 (press release) – Wood WORKS! BC Community Recognition Awards were presented to local government representatives today at the Union of BC Municipalities conference in Vancouver for their demonstration of leadership and vision by adopting Wood First commitments in their communities or regional districts since 2009. Thirty-seven local governments have passed a Wood First bylaw, resolution and/or policy in support of the province's Wood First Act, and were recognized by Wood WORKS! BC at the local area luncheons during the UBCM conference, with each elected representative receiving a special limited edition collector's pin. The Wood First Act aims to increase demand for wood products by requiring provincially-funded projects to use wood as the primary building material within the BC Building Code.

Wood WORKS! BC proudly presented the 2011 Community Recognition Awards to the following:

AVICC -- Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities
Campbell River | Gibsons | North Cowichan | Port Alberni | Port Hardy | Sechelt

AKBLG -- Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments
Castlegar | Cranbrook | Fruitvale | Kaslo | Midway | Nakusp

NCLGA -- North Central Local Government Association
100 Mile House | Cariboo RD | Chetwynd | Fort St. James | Hazelton | Houston | Prince George | Queen Charlotte | Quesnel | Taylor | Terrace | Williams Lake

SILGA -- Southern Interior Local Government Association
Armstrong | Chase | Columbia Shuswap RD | Enderby | Kelowna | Lumby | Merritt | North Okanagan RD | Princeton | Revelstoke | Spallumcheen

LMLGA --Lower Mainland Local Government Association
Squamish | Surrey

The Wood WORKS! BC Community Recognition Awards are presented annually to communities that have been exemplary advocates for wood. This may be demonstrated through the specification of wood in a community project and through visionary initiatives that work toward building a community culture of wood. Wood WORKS! BC adopted a Wood First theme for the 2011 UBCM conference, and made a decision to recognize local governments which have made their own commitments to building with wood.

"We are very excited as we approach the milestone of 40 local governments adopting Wood First commitments," explained Mary Tracey, executive director of Wood WORKS! BC. "We congratulate each and every one of these local governments for being leaders and visionaries. They clearly recognize that a wood culture will lead us to a more sustainable way of life in the future of this province." She continued, "By recognizing the benefits of wood and embracing its use, they are addressing climate change, supporting our forest industry and ultimately enhancing prosperity not only in their own communities but for all of us living in BC." It's estimated that 85,000 families depend on the forest and wood products manufacturing sector for their livelihood in BC, primarily in rural BC, but the industry is also recognized to be a strong economic engine for urban prosperity in the province. The City of Surrey is one of the award recipients.

"Wood is one of the most sustainable, natural and renewable building materials on the planet, and it's beautiful," said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, whose community passed a Wood First policy in November 2010. Surrey is the largest centre to date with a policy. "We will consider the use of wood in all city-funded capital projects wherever it makes economic and practical sense. It's one way that we can create healthier communities across the city."

"By making their own commitments to use wood, these communities are playing an integral role in supporting BC's forest industry, economy and the vitality of their own communities," said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. "This is just one of the many ways BC communities can be partners in job creation."

Wood WORKS! is a national industry-led initiative of the Canadian Wood Council, with a goal to support innovation and provide leadership on the use of wood and wood products. Through workshops, seminars and case studies, Wood WORKS! provides education, training and technical expertise to building and design professionals and local governments involved with commercial, institutional and industrial construction projects throughout BC. For the past 13 years, Wood WORKS! BC has facilitated practical, efficient, versatile and cost-effective building and design solutions through the use of wood -- the most sustainable, natural and renewable building material on Earth.

Notable projects with Wood WORKS! BC involvement include the international award-winning Richmond Oval - the largest of the 2010 Winter Olympics venues. The Oval's six-acre free spanning "wood wave" roof made with "beetle-kill" wood is a precedent- setting example of BC's and Canada's advanced wood engineering and prefabrication capabilities. Wood WORKS! BC was also involved with the new Vancouver Convention Centre, and has also worked extensively with municipalities on projects ranging from fire halls to arenas to recreation centres.

"We are asking communities to continue to contact Wood WORKS! BC as they pass Wood First policies, bylaws or resolutions, or if they need support to take the final step," concluded Ms. Tracey. "Not only would we like to recognize these communities, but we'd also like to offer them technical expertise, training and education to help make way for versatile, beautiful and cost-effective building and design solutions."

Wood WORKS! BC is a recognized resource to help BC communities with the new "build with wood" requirements on publicly-funded projects, and its expertise is available free-of-charge.

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