Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on June 16, 2011.
What exactly is the Economic Action Plan all about? Today I was honoured to represent the Minister of Natural Resources, the Hon. Joe Oliver, at the grand opening of a new state of the art cross-laminated timber manufacturing plant in the community of Okanagan Falls located in the southern part of my Okanagan – Coquihalla Riding. Okanagan Falls was a community particularly hard hit by the global economic meltdown as they lost the community’s biggest employer when a Weyerhaeuser Lumber Mill shut down.
Today was the ribbon cutting ceremony for an Action Plan investment that helped to create this exciting new production facility in Okanagan Falls. What is exciting about this new facility is that it is the first large-scale cross laminated timber production facility in North America. What is exciting about that? Today I learned a fair bit. Cross- Lam construction is incredibly strong and it can be used in commercial & industrial applications as a replacement for concrete. Unlike concrete it requires no forms to set and can be constructed to custom size specific dimensions thus greatly reducing production time. It is also seven times lighter than concrete so it is much easier and more economical to transport and it requires considerable less energy to produce and has less waste so it is also environmentally friendly.
I would be remiss if I did not also point out that as a wood product it also looks aesthetically pleasing as well and can even utilize undervalued fiber sources such as beetle wood. In short, it is an innovative and exciting new product and it has created jobs in a community that desperately needs them. The best news is that already Structurlam Products has enough demand to double the current capacity and already has plans to expand this new facility! That is good news.
In the picture above Structurlam President Bill Downing explains the operations of “The Big Master”, the world’s largest planer and part of the machinery required to bring this innovative product to the market. Joining me on this tour is British Columbia Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, Hon. Pat Bell, Speaker of the BC Legislature Bill Barisoff, and Boundary-Similkameen MLA John Slater among others.
UPDATED: To read the Vancouver Sun article on this, click here. To see the CHBC news story, click here.
In addition to his weekly MP Report. the Dan in Ottawa blog is another resource for residents of Okanagan-Coquihalla. Chronicling Dan’s personal experiences as he travels to Ottawa and throughout the riding as your MP.
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