Tamar Atik

Tamar Atik

March 16, 2018 - RCMP have identified a body found at the Domtar pulp mill in Kamloops, B.C. on March 7 as David Michael Jeff.

Jeff, 67, was one of the thousands of Williams Lake residents evacuated during the during the 2017 wildfires.

He had been reported missing since July 31, 2017.

Jeff was one of Williams Lake’s most vulnerable residents, according to news reports.

An autopsy was completed on March 12, and forensic findings and the RCMP have concluded that Jeff’s death is not suspicious. However, the Coroner’s Office is continuing its investigation into Jeff’s death.

The RCMP is seeking the public’s assistance to find out how he came to be in the area where his body was discovered. “Specifically, if you know where he spent time during the day or where he was sleeping at night, the police would like to talk to you,” Cpl. Jodi Shelkie said in a press release.
March 1, 2018 - After 75 years in existence and with 57,000 people currently directly employed in forestry, the Ontario Forest Industry Association (OFIA) is confident in a bright future for forestry in Ontario, and Canada as a whole.

“In these uncertain times I am certain that forestry is in our future,” Jamie Lim, OFIA president said at the association’s 75th convention at One King West Hotel and Residence held in downtown Toronto yesterday. “Let’s ensure that Ontario leads the way; let’s keep working together.”

One way in which Ontario, and the country, is making some headway is in wood construction.

With wooden structures like the Pagoda of Fogong Temple in China standing at 67.3 metres since the year 1056, Cory Zurell, principal engineer at Blackwell Structural Engineers says there’s no reason why similar, or even, taller structures can’t be built now. This is especially the case in Canada where there is an abundance of resources.

“Sustainability has to be a principal concern in how we design buildings, and wood is a solution to that,” Zurell says in his tall wood building presentation.

Brock Commons at the University of British Columbia is a recent, popular example of a hybrid wood building, which opened in July 2017. At 18-storeys tall, it’s currently the tallest mass timber building in the world.
OFIA photo 3
B.C.’s Wood Innovations Centre in Prince George and architect Shigeru Ban’s Terrace House in Vancouver are two more notable examples in that province. The latter is still in development and is slated to beat Brock Commons for being North America’s tallest hybrid timber structure once it’s complete in 2020.

The 13-storey-tall Origine Condos in Quebec are another example of hybrid wood construction success in Canada.

Examples of wood structures in Ontario include St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market in Waterloo, Redstone Winery in Niagara-on-the-lake, and 312 Adelaide St. W and 80 Atlantic in downtown Toronto.

And for a nation-wide example, the Douglas Cardinal Housing Corporation designs prefabricated cross-laminated timber homes and ships them to remote First Nations communities with housing needs in Canada.

Current Canadian building codes only recognize wood buildings up to six storeys, even though taller buildings already exist like the 312 Adelaide West brick and beam building in Toronto. It’s eight levels and it’s been there since 1895.

The 2020 National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) will have provisions for 12-storey mass timber buildings. Until then, Zurell says it’s important to harness creativity and find solutions to move forward in building with wood and be more sustainable overall. “There are many options open to us for exceeding what the code allows, and we just have to use it to our advantage,” he says.

Fire fears
“Yes, wood burns, get over it,” Zurell says, adding that although wood burns, it behaves better than steel in a fire. “Wood performs well in fire, actually, when we’re talking large mass dimension lumber.”

In the M-Building in Kanazawa City in Japan, wood is used to protect the steel in the structure.

“Sprinklers and fire alarms, that’s what changes the outcome of fires in buildings,” Zurell says. “Regardless of structure, those are the key items.”

Zurell says efficient buildings can be constructed by maximizing the behaviour of the materials and their appropriate use in different parts of the construction of the structure. He adds that knowing the behaviour of wood, how it shrinks, how it burns, are not obstacles to prevent wood construction. “Wood rots, so does steel, so does concrete… We know this and we just have to account for it,” he says.

“We’re going to use steel where it makes sense, we’re going to use concrete where it makes sense, and wood where it makes sense. We don’t have to use wood everywhere.” Zurell says using new technology to build safe wooden structures is the way to go as well as using steel to give wood ductility.

So, why wood for buildings? Zurell asks the crowd. Wood is grown by the sun, it is light-weight relative to its strength, it has a low carbon footprint, it’s prefabricated, and fun fact: exposed wood has positive health and well-being benefits on people. Reports have found that when used in schools, students learn better, and offices built with wood attract high-profile tenants and fly off the market.

“Let’s build taller,” he says. “At least let’s try and match what they did 1,000 years ago.”
Feb 13, 2018 - Fire crews responded to a call at Western Forest Products' Alberni Pacific Division Mill in Port Alberni, B.C. on Feb. 6.

The fire is thought to have started in the hog pile. It had been smouldering in sawdust before fire crews arrived, Port Alberni Fire Chief Kelly Gilday told the Alberni Valley News.

There were no reported injuries. 

Read the full story here.
Feb. 13, 2018 – The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is encouraging citizens to help it solve natural resource violation cases.

They include poaching large and small game; unlawful hunting or shooting from a roadway; fishing out hunting out-of-season; the illegal sale of species at risk, wildlife or animal parts; taking more fish or game than allowed; dumping waste on Crown land; illegally removing sand, gravel or wood from public lands; having fires in restricted fire zones or without a permit; and illegal activities in provincial parks and protected areas.

Many of the cases go unsolved because they occur in remote areas with few witnesses.

The ministry is encouraging people who have information to call its tip line at 1-877-847-7667.

A full map of the unsolved cases can be found here.
Feb. 9, 2018 – Natural wood has been used to build structures for centuries, but it has its limitations. Even after pre-treatment, temperature changes like extreme heat can make wood expand causing it to weaken.

A team of scientists at the University of Maryland came up with a two-step process to help natural wood overcome those barriers since it is a cheap and preferred building material all over the world.

Their solution involves the partial removal of lignin and hemicellulose from the natural wood followed by hot-pressing to completely densify the natural wood and increase its strength tenfold.

“Our processed wood has a specific strength higher than that of most structural metals and alloys, making it a low-cost, high-performance, lightweight alternative,” the scientists wrote in their academic article published in the science journal Nature.
Feb. 6, 2018 – N.B. Premier Brian Gallant is travelling to Washington this week to meet with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The agenda items include trade, softwood lumber, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“New Brunswick is Canada’s most trade-driven province and the United States continues to be our province’s biggest trading partner. This economic relationship is important to New Brunswickers,” Gallant said in a statement. “New Brunswick’s and Maine’s integration of softwood lumber is a great example as to how the tariffs imposed on New Brunswick softwood lumber will hurt the American economy.

This is Gallant’s third meeting with Ross in the past year.
Feb. 6, 2018 – Quebec-based Arbec Forest Products has received an additional investment of up to $1 million to support its $10-million upgrade of its oriented strand board (OSB) plant in Miramichi, N.B.

The investment, by the New Brunswick government will go toward ensuring new equipment and technology is used to increase productivity and quality control.

“We have enormous confidence in the skills of our workforce here in Miramichi and we hope that the more than $10-million worth of capital investments we are making speak to that very clearly,” mill manager Les Flett said in a statement.

Arbec purchased the Miramichi plant in 2011 and began production in 2012 following renovations. The company currently employs 124.
Feb. 6, 2018 – The Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (BNA) First Nation’s Sawmill Manager Project is receiving $57,746 from the Ontario government to ensure the BNA has a qualified manager to run sawmill operations.

Papasay Value-Added Wood Products is a First Nation-owned sawmill located in the Lake Nipigon Forest, about 180km northwest of Thunder Bay.

The company’s goal is to provide long-term sustainable employment opportunities for BNA Band Members and workers from the region by utilizing the natural resources available in the area to produce rough sawn lumber including birch, cedar, poplar and SPF, as well as value-added products such as columns and posts.
Feb. 6, 2018 – Primary resource industries including forestry are being reminded to exercise safety measures in avalanche terrain.

“B.C. is full of such rugged terrain, and working in it without proper precautions is dangerous, even deadly,” says Patrick Davie, WorkSafeBC manager of prevention field services, Kamloops. “Employers in these situations are required under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation to ensure a well-rehearsed safety plan is in place and well understood by all workers.”

WorkSafeBC says employers should identify, assess and take action to mitigate the danger associated with working in areas presenting avalanche risk.

Since 1998 in B.C., avalanches have caused three worker deaths and 52 accepted time-loss injury claims, including two injury claims in 2017, according to WorkSafeBC.

Employers are being encouraged to visit the Canadian Avalanche Association website for more resources.
Feb. 6, 2018 – The towns of Canmore and Whitecourt, Alta., as well as Woodlands County have received a combined total of $130,000 to eradicate the mountain pine beetle.

The mountain pine beetle threatens six million hectares of Alberta’s pine forest and affects the activities of more than half of the major forest companies operating in the province.

The funds are being allocated as follows:
Canmore –  $75,000
Whitecourt ­– $29,000
Woodlands – $26,000

“Our best chance to combat the mountain pine beetle infestation is if our government partners with local municipalities on aggressive and proactive detection and control programs,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

In 2017, more than 92,000 trees across the province were cut and burned to help control the mountain pine beetle outbreak.
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