City council adopts wood-first policy

Revelstoke city council has adopted a wood-first policy designed to encourage the use of wood products for all municipal building projects.

Revelstoke city council has adopted a wood-first policy designed to encourage the use of wood products for all municipal building projects.

The decision came at their Jan. 25 regular meeting.

Council had previously requested staff prepare the policy, and the wording follows study of policies in other municipalities, as well as health, safety and building codes.

The policy, prepared by Tim Luini, has four main points.

It states the City of Revelstoke will continue to support the ongoing development of its wood culture by:

-Encouraging wood champion designers and builders for all municipal building projects so that the opportunities for building with wood cost-effectively are maximized.

-Ensuring all requests for proposals will request excellence in building with wood as a key qualifying criterion.

-Seeking those who can find practical, efficient, versatile and cost-effective building and design solutions through the use of wood.

-Ensuring that all municipal construction projects in the City of Revelstoke receiving public or wood industry financing support employ the appropriate structural or architectural use of wood.

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The spirit of the policy received support from all councillors, but a debate over details resulted in a split vote.

Coun. Peter Frew said he’d attended a Revelstoke Forest Workers’ Society meeting the night before and heard concerns, including lack of wording for repairs, renovations or private projects. Other concerns included lack of wording specifying use of local wood.

Other councillors favoured getting the policy on the books and then seeking further consultations with the society and other stakeholders, noting the policy could be amended.

Planning director John Guenther said the policy was worded as is because of the city’s limited jurisdiction. He also suggested that a parallel policy could be developed for private developments.

In the end, the policy passed with Coun. Frew and Coun. Phil Welock opposed.

Council then agreed to move to consult with the Forest Workers’ Society.

“The wood is good,” said Mayor Raven.