Ontario legislator wants bill to raise height limits for wood-frame buildings, revitalize province's forest products industry in face of cheap wood from Western Canada, high Ontario power rates

LOS ANGELES , March 20, 2012 () –

A proposed bill to boost Ontario's forest products industry by raising height restrictions for wood-frame buildings was expected to be revealed at a press conference Tuesday, The North Bay Nugget reported March 19.

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli wants to follow British Columbia’s lead by increasing the height restrictions of wood-frame buildings to six storeys from four, and has sponsored the Ontario Forestry Industry Revitalization Act, which would effect the change.

Fedeli said he expects to introduce the private member’s bill in the legislature in September, The North Bay Nugget reported.

Three leaders in the Ontario forest products industry were expected to join Fedeli Tuesday: Tembec Inc.'s CEO Jim Lopez, Canadian Wood Council president Michael Giroux and Marianne Berube, executive director of Ontario's Wood Works.

The Ontario Liberal government is considering similar changes for the scheduled 2015 update of the Ontario Building Code. But Fedeli--who is also the Conservative energy critic--said the changes were needed sooner, pointing out that Ontario mills were being squeezed, and some closed, by high energy prices.

Meanwhile, the pine beetle epidemic has led to low stumpage rates in British Columbia of C$25 cents per cubic meter compared to C$5 per cubic meter in Ontario, said Fedeli, who believes Alberta will follow in dropping its stumpage fees, further hampering Ontario's ability to compete.

Fedeli said his Ontario Forestry Industry Revitalization Act would support 200,000 jobs in the province and stimulate the economy, The North Bay Nugget reported.

The primary source of this article is The North Bay Nugget, North Bay, Ontario, March 19, 2012.
 

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