B.C. announces $4M for 12 mass timber demonstration projects

The Penticton Lakeside Resort, a 70-unit mass timber hotel constructed in 2017. (BC Gov)

The B.C. government is spending more than $4 million on 12 mass timber demonstration projects in an effort to accelerate the adoption of mass timber construction in B.C.

The province is also establishing a new advisory council on mass timber construction to research and highlight the potential of the all-wood construction process.

Among the 12 projects announced Wednesday are the redevelopment of the Saanich #2 fire hall and a low-cost housing development in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

“As we work to put the pandemic behind us, we will continue making strategic investments that position B.C. to come back stronger on the other side,” said Premier John Horgan in a statement Wednesday.

“Mass timber is good for forestry-dependent communities, workers and the environment because it adds value rather than just volume,” Horgan added.

The $4.2-million investment from the province is expected to help urban planners and developers adopt mass timber design and construction practices.

The demonstration projects will be used to study mass timber’s fire performance and relative costs compared to steel and concrete construction.

“B.C. is well positioned to be the world leader in sustainable design and construction innovations that can transform our economy and positively support our environment and climate footprint," said Michael Green, architect and mass timber advisory council member. “I believe that mass timber will reshape our skylines with beautiful buildings that respond to the needs of our communities and planet.”

The mass timber funding is part of the province’s $10-billion COVID-19 economic recovery program.

In 2019, the province adopted new national building code provisions for 12-storey mass timber construction projects.

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