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Alberta

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

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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.

Alberta

Province says books will be balanced again by 2022-23

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Premier Jason Kenney and Finance Minister Travis Toews present the 2020 Budget: A Plan for Jobs and the Economy.

From the Province of Alberta

Third-quarter results show the deficit has declined more than expected. With the deficit $1.2 billion lower than projected in Budget 2019, Alberta taxpayers can expect to pay $35 million less in debt-servicing costs.

Budget 2020 also provides stable funding for health, education and core social services. The budget focuses on finding cost efficiencies and creating jobs while maintaining the high-quality services Albertans expect.

“Budget 2020 continues our focus on creating jobs, growing our economy and streamlining programs and services to ensure a sustainable future. Our plan is working. We are on track to balance the budget by 2022-23 and Alberta’s surplus in that year is expected to be higher than that projected in Budget 2019. We are also maintaining funding for health and education while ensuring each dollar is wisely spent on what Albertans need most.”

Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

Included in Budget 2020 is A Blueprint for Jobs – the government’s plan to get Albertans back to work. It supports dynamic growth from the technology, energy, agriculture and forestry sectors and supports diversification in other key sectors through initiatives, including:

  • Improving competitiveness through further reductions in the Job Creation Tax Cut.
  • Accelerating growth-oriented projects through the capital plan to provide job opportunities for Albertans.
  • Reducing red tape in all sectors to make Alberta the best place to do business in Canada.
  • Accelerating the reclamation of “legacy sites” – including orphan wells – in ways that prioritize job creation.
  • Filling gaps in the labour market, such as increasing access to training for Class 1 drivers.

“There is no greater job for our government than getting Alberta back to work. Budget 2020 and A Blueprint for Jobs leverage the natural strengths of our province and support new opportunities for diversification, economic growth and job creation. We are putting a growth and prosperity lens on everything we do to ensure the choices we make as a government support economic growth and jobs for Albertans.”

Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

Budget 2020 capital plan highlights

The 2020 Capital Plan commits $6.9 billion in 2020-21 to build and maintain key infrastructure projects across the province. Over the course of the three-year fiscal plan, an estimated $772 million in new projects will be added, bringing the total capital plan to $19.3 billion. This will create opportunities for private sector participation and support more than 3,000 jobs, increasing employment by 2022. Some of the new projects include:

  • Twinning Highway 40 to facilitate economic growth and improve safety.
  • Funding to renovate the Peter Lougheed Centre to alleviate pressure on Alberta’s most-congested emergency department.
  • New funding for critical laboratory equipment needs in Edmonton and northern Alberta.
  • The Alberta Surgical Wait-Times Initiative, which will fund new operating rooms and purchase new hospital equipment. The initiative will reduce Alberta’s surgical wait times to an average of four months, funding 80,000 additional surgeries by 2022-23.
  • The launch of a new Rural Health Facilities Revitalization Program to provide infrastructure upgrades across Alberta.
  • Funding for the Red Deer Integrated Emergency Shelter for 160 new spaces for the homeless.
  • Funding for the Bow Reservoir Options project to assess the feasibility of a multi-use dam on the Bow River.

Bill 4, also tabled today, implements a fixed budget period. This provision is an amendment to the Fiscal Planning and Transparency Act and aligns with a recommendation from the MacKinnon Panel.

A fixed budget period will help organizations that provide services for Albertans to better plan their own budgets. The fixed budget period means a budget must be released each year in the month of February.

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Alberta

And now for something completely different! Alberta’s rubber chicken thief

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From Airdrie Rural RCMP

Airdrie Rural RCMP investigate a theft which involved a rubber chicken 

Airdrie Rural RCMP are investigating the theft of a donation box from a Tim Horton’s located in the Crossiron Mills mall in Rocky View County, Alta.

On February 11, 2020 at approximately 1:22 p.m., a male suspect entered Tim Hortons and walked up to the front counter. He then placed a rubber chicken over the donation box to conceal it and left the business.

The suspect is described as:

  • Caucasian Male
  • Wearing a blue sweater or jacket and a black balaclava
  • Holding a rubber chicken

If you have any information regarding this investigation, you are asked to contact Airdrie RCMP at 403-945-7200 or your local police. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com (http://www.p3tips.com) or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.

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