Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Beaver is back in Detroit

I enjoy reading news about wildlife making inroads into areas where they haven't been seen in years, or decades. Here is a story I heard on the CBC radio today about a beaver returning to the Detroit area.

Wildlife officials are celebrating the sighting of a beaver in the Detroit River for the first time in decades, signaling that efforts to clean up the waterway are paying off.

The Detroit Free Press reports that a beaver lodge has been discovered in an intake canal at a Detroit Edison riverfront plant. Officials believe the beaver spotted by the utility's motion-sensitive camera marks the animal's return to the river for the first time in at least 75 years.

Beaver trapping in the late 1700s was instrumental in the founding of Detroit, but the animals were soon wiped out.

Full story here:


Friday, February 13, 2009

BC wood products to China and Mongolia

BC continues efforts to develop markets for wood products in China.


The Shanghai government has formally approved a B.C. designed roofing system as part of a plan to renovate 10,000 city apartment buildings in the lead-up to the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell, and Ida Chong, Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development, announced today.

“Shanghai officials have recognized that building with wood is cost-effective, energy-efficient, and good for the environment,” Bell said. “With this approval, B.C. wood producers now have access to a market for as many as 10,000 new roofs over the next two years.”

The approval applies to a wood truss roofing system designed by Chinese officials in collaboration with B.C. Forestry Innovation Investment, the Province’s international marketing agency for B.C. forest products, provided engineering assistance, access to B.C. lumber, and demonstration sites donated by B.C.

China represents the greatest growth opportunity for B.C. forest products of any market around the world,” said Chong, who is Minister responsible for the Province’s Asia-Pacific Initiative. “And with government and industry working together, we’re quickly establishing B.C. as the leading supplier of high-quality lumber and wood products.”

In the first nine months of 2008, exports of B.C. wood products to China were more than for all of 2007 and were valued at more than $166 million.

For the past five years, the Province and forest sector, along with the federal Canada Wood Export Program, have targeted China as a major growth market for forest products. The renovation market, in particular, has been identified as having high growth potential due to a deteriorating infrastructure of apartment buildings and medium-rise housing.


A major contract for a Cowichan Valley business to supply homes to Mongolia shows that B.C.’s efforts to sell more wood products around the world are working, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced today.

In the $4-million project, the Pacific Homes division of Pacific Building Systems is supplying 48 townhomes for a new development in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. All major structural components – including floors, walls and ceilings – of the homes will be built in Cobble Hill, and then shipped via containers to Mongolia where they will be assembled.

“We’re building everything from the foundation up using B.C. wood, finishings and other building products,” said Ray Greene of Pacific Homes.

Through Forestry Innovation Investment (FII), the Province has been working with the Mongolian government for the past 18 months to adapt its building code to Canadian standards and build capacity for a wood-frame housing sector. This included building two demonstration homes in Ulaanbaatar, and funding the British Columbia Institute of Technology to provide training and technical support to Mongolian officials and developers.

Pacific Building Systems sells prefabricated buildings to clients locally and around the world, including the United States, Korea, Iceland and Israel.

Several major mining projects by Canadian companies are underway in Mongolia and expected to create more demand for new housing as well as public infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and other facilities.

Several wood-frame public buildings are being built as part of the Wenchuan earthquake reconstruction program funded with $8 million contributed by Canada and British Columbia.

Through the earthquake project, Chinese officials in the central part of the country are learning more about the benefits of wood-frame construction and Canadian advanced wood technology.


Tembec cost cutting continues

Downsizing of the forest industry continues in early 2009 with more cutbacks and mill shutdowns.

Tembec cuts 100 more jobs, slashes spending in cost-reduction plan

Forestry firm Tembec is cutting 100 more jobs and clamping down on spending under a sweeping cost-reduction plan.

Tembec says it has frozen all salaries for 2009, will reduce travel expenses and is reviewing its participation in associations and research institutes.

The company has already announced plans to lay off nearly half of its workforce as it shuts mills in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario.

Tembec says it is dealing with "extraordinary" times in the pulp and paper industry, which has been bogged down by depressed markets for lumber, pulp and newsprint amid the widespread economic slowdown.

About 3,400 of the company's 7,000 workers have been idled in earlier plant closures and workforce cuts.