Pledging “Wood First”


It’s not just in the U.S. that logging towns are coming up with bold new solutions to keep their lifeblood going. For decades, the timber industry provided jobs, security and a sense of community for towns across the West. Why give that up? Campbell River, a city of 32,000 people on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, just adopted a “Wood First” policy that will require all new city buildings — and additions to existing buildings — use wood as their primary building material. (Other coverage of the move here and here.)

Here’s what city councillor Ziggy Stewart told the Times Colonist:

“The fact council was unanimous in its support of this policy shows our true commitment to supporting the ongoing development of a wood culture in Campbell River that focuses on the structural and architectural use of wood…We need to develop new strategies that will enhance opportunities to develop a vibrant local forest industry.”

Campbell River, not surprisingly, had a busy pulp mill that was built in 1952 and just shut down for good in 2008. Good for town leaders in keeping the timber tradition alive. It will be interesting to see whether more timber towns use a similar strategy.