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Structurlam nails down big contract

Forests Minister Steve Thomson speaks Tuesday at Structurlam
Forests Minister Steve Thomson speaks Tuesday at Structurlam's facility in Okanagan Falls.
— image credit: Joe Fries/Western News

B.C.’s tallest wood building will be made with pre-fabricated components assembled here in the South Okanagan.

Structurlam Wood Products president Bill Downing said Tuesday his company was selected to supply the shell of the Wood Innovation and Design Centre in downtown Prince George.

“That’s a secret, but not anymore,” he added.

The company will provide structural components like beams and wall panels, and the first load of material is expected to be delivered to Prince George next month.

Site work began this spring for the $25-million, six-storey building that’s meant to showcase B.C.’s cutting-edge wood construction and design techniques.

The cross-laminated timber products that will be used for wall and floor panels are already being assembled at Structurlam’s plant in Okanagan Falls.

The facility just underwent a 930-square-metre expansion to house a new computer-controlled machine that can cut openings in the panels for windows and doors.

Cross-laminated timber panels are made from lengths of two-by-six lumber that are finger-jointed and glued together to form slabs up to nine pieces thick.

Steve Thomson, the minister of forests, lands and natural resource operations, visited the Okanagan Falls plant Tuesday to see Structurlam’s expansion first-hand.

“They’re such an important partner in the industry and doing great things here in terms of building and adding value for the sector, and continuing to build jobs and economic development here in the South Okanagan,” Thomson said.

The minister said his government is trying to strike a balance between maintaining strong prices for lumber manufacturers’ output and keeping finished wood affordable for value-added companies like Structurlam that use it as an input.

Structurlam has 150 employees across its operations in Penticton, Oliver and Okanagan Falls.

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