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Alberta

Alberta will now allow wood-building construction for up to 12 storeys

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wood buildings

From the Province of Alberta

Reducing red tape for wood-building construction

Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu announced the change Friday, as part of Red Tape Reduction Awareness Week.

While other jurisdictions in Canada, like British Columbia, currently allow for 12-storey wood construction, Alberta will become the first province in Canada to allow the practice province-wide.

“Not only will this decision support the forestry industry and land developers, it will provide affordability to homebuyers, bolster employment, and give Alberta a competitive advantage. We made this change knowing that mass timber products are safe and that these buildings will meet all necessary standards.”

Kaycee Madu, Minister of Municipal Affairs

Current Alberta and national building codes allow wood-building construction for up to six storeys, but the next edition of the National Building Code – anticipated for publication at the end of 2020 – will allow for the use of tall wood construction with fire-resistant material for up to 12 storeys.

Alberta will issue a notice – based on technical provisions developed for the next edition of the National Building Code – to allow early use of tall wood or mass timber construction for up to 12 storeys using fire-resistant material in time for the upcoming construction season.

“We commend the Government of Alberta for advancing the use of wood-building construction of up to 12 storeys with this province-wide variance. By building with products that are made locally, we are supporting thousands of jobs in small communities and large cities throughout the province. From people working in sawmills, to value-add facilities, to jobs in construction and transportation, everyone benefits from this change. Moreover, because wood is fully renewable and has a low carbon footprint, our environment benefits, too.”

Paul Whittaker, Alberta Forest Products Association President

New technology makes taller wood construction feasible

Advancements in fire-protection and wood-product technology are allowing for the construction of taller wood buildings without compromising safety.

The building codes will require tall wood buildings to be built as encapsulated mass timber construction, where the solid or engineered wood has been surrounded by fire-resistive material. Buildings of mass timber construction will also be fully sprinklered.

“BILD Alberta is excited to see the Government of Alberta take steps to modernize construction, reduce red tape and address environmental needs by allowing innovative techniques to deliver the homes and buildings people need. This provides our industry and member companies with more options in meeting the housing affordability needs of Albertans.”

Patrick Shaver, chair, BILD Alberta Chair and president of Avillia Developments

Quick facts

  • Wood buildings taller than six storeys have been built in Vancouver (University of British Columbia’s 18-storey Brock Commons), Europe, the United States, and other jurisdictions around the world.
  • Mass or laminated timber has excellent durability and seismic, fire, and acoustic safety performance.
  • The encapsulated mass-timber construction component of the 2020 National Building Code has already been reviewed by the National Building Code committees and fire-safety specialists, structural engineers, architects, scientists, and builders.

Economic impact of tall wood buildings

  • Potential to create about 60 jobs per construction site and up to 400 jobs per new sawmill and production sites.
  • A growth in demand for lumber, for example, 100-million board feet, about $40-million worth of lumber, is the equivalent to about two mills the size of Boucher Bros Lumber.

Minister Madu tours Western Archrib with (L-R) Paul Whittaker, Scott Fash of BILD, Dale Beesley, Municipal Affairs, and Andre Lema, of Western Archrib.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Markets expected to take measure of Cenovus-Husky deal as earnings season begins

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Calgary oilpatch investors are expected to take stock of a mega-merger between oilsands heavyweights Cenovus Energy Inc. and Husky Energy Inc. as stock markets open this morning.

The surprise deal announced Sunday will see Husky shareholders receive 0.7845 of a Cenovus share plus 0.0651 of a Cenovus share purchase warrant in exchange for each Husky common share.

The companies say the price, which values Husky at $3.8 billion, represents a 21 per cent premium, excluding warrants, to Husky’s five-day volume-weighted average price per share on Friday, but Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix said Sunday that’s more a result of recent stock market volatility than intent.

Cenovus shareholders would own about 61 per cent of the combined company and Husky shareholders about 39 per cent. 

The transaction must be approved by at least two-thirds of Husky’s shareholders but Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing  controls 70 per cent of Husky’s shares and has agreed to vote them in favour of the deal.

Sunday’s announcement comes just as Calgary’s oilsands companies are about to start rolling out third-quarter financial results, with Suncor Energy Inc. set to report Wednesday and both Cenovus and Husky scheduled to report on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CVE, TSX:HSE, TSX:SU)

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Watchdog agency asked to look into man’s death following arrest at LRT station

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CALGARY — Alberta’s police oversight agency has been asked to investigate a death that police say happened after a suspect was arrested at a light-rail train station.

Calgary police say in a news release that they were called to the Marlborough CTrain station on Friday for reports of a man in possession of an airsoft gun.

They the man was cooperative when police arrived and they took him into custody without incident, and they say the arrest was captured on a body-worn camera.

He was charged with breach-related offences, police say, and was transported to Spyhill Services Centre where they say he was cleared by a medic and placed in a holding cell.

Police say that during a routine check of the cells at 8 p.m. the man was eating his meal, but at the next check he was found unresponsive.

They say that despite “significant lifesaving efforts” he was pronounced dead at approximately 8:40 p.m.

“We have recently undergone significant work to ensure that our standards are in line with current best practices for in-custody care,” police said in the news release.

“However out of an abundance of caution, we will be reviewing this incident to inform our procedures.”

Police said that as is standard practice with a death in custody, the Director of Law Enforcement was notified and has directed the oversight body, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, to investigate.

Calgary police said in the release that it “has extensive systems and protocols already in place to ensure the care of arrestees, including medical clearance checks for every arrestee prior to being admitted into a cell, searches of individuals before being taken into custody, CCTV systems to monitor people in custody and regular cell checks.”

Police said that since it’s now an active investigation by the watchdog agency, it won’t release further details.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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