Stress Relief in Lumber?

We’ve never really given much thought to adding “stress-reduction therapist” to our role as lumber traders – until now! Back in June, we learned here that physicians around the world are increasingly recommending their patients spend time amongst trees. Now comes word that the mere presence of wood in the ‘built indoor environment’ offers a myriad of stress-related health benefits. This recent study at UBC concluded that, in addition to all the traditional advantages that wood offers, your well-being – general health – could well be enhanced by that wooden office paneling. The report adds that in architecture “evidence-based design is a growing field that seeks to promote health and optimize outcomes based on scientifically credible evidence. The UBC study establishes wood as a tool in the pursuit of evidence-based design and healthy building occupants.”

~Sawdust~

– B.C. is positioning itself to be a world leader in future wood applications. The announcement this week of two unique masters programs for the University of Northern B.C. (UNBC) at Prince George has drawn widespread support from Industry and educational interests. The two programs announced by the provincial government are a Master of Applied Science in Engineering and a Master of Engineering in Integrated Wood Design. The new UNBC-trained engineers are expected to be experts in the use of wood as a versatile, sustainable and cost-effective building material. Trademarked in 2007 as “Canada’s Green University”, UNBC will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2015. According to their website here, UNBC was voted #1 in Canada by students for environmental commitment in 2011, the year the University BioEnergy Plant opened. The plant uses local sawmill residue to reduce the use of fossil fuel for campus heating by 85%. Emissions from the plant are lower than natural gas, making it one of the cleanest bioenergy plants in North America. The masters programs will reside in the Wood Innovation and Design Centre now under construction in downtown Prince George.

– Chris Sainas, President of the B.C. Wholesale Lumber Association, reports only a few singles remain for this evening’s 7th Annual Night at the Nat. Local lumber wholesalers and their families will find some shade under the umbrellas while our Vancouver Canadians take on the team with the best name in baseball – the Hillsboro Hops. It’s the opener of a five-game series through August 4th. BCWLA Barbecue 6:00 pm. First pitch 7:05 pm. See you there!

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A Legacy Totem Pole..

In what’s described as a symbol of “celebration” and “reconciliation”, a Legacy Totem Pole is set to rise on B.C.’s Haida Gwaii islands. Peter Landin, president of the Council of the Haida Nation, states:  “It’s not an era of conflict anymore.” According to this report in The Ottawa Citizen, the new totem pole pays homage to, among other things, the 1985 logging blockade that led to the Gwaii Haanas National Park. It’s the first time in 130 years that a monumental totem pole carved by aboriginal artists will rise on B.C.’s Haida coast. The 14-metre Legacy Pole, fashioned from the trunk of a 500-year old red cedar, was selected from a stand of trees on Graham Island and has been a full year in the making. “A team of carvers headed by Haida craftsman Jaalen Edenshaw has been working 12-hour days to ready what it’s hoped will become a cherished symbol of Haida history – ancient and modern – when put in place on August 15th at Lyell Islands Windy Basy.” Check out the stunning imagery in the following dramatic video, in which Jaalen tells the story.

Updated 8/19: The Legacy Totem Pole was raised in Windy Bay on Thursday, August 15th. Images available here.

Tuba Fore!

As the Canadian Open heads into the weekend, it’s perhaps some consolation to golfers who don’t make the cut to learn that registration opened today for the 26th Annual B.C. Wholesale Golf Tournament scheduled for Tuesday August 27th at The University Golf Club, UBC. For more details, contact BCWLA President Chris Sainas here at Dakeryn. Images below provided courtesy of the BCWLA, from last year’s tourney at UBC.

Renewal

In early April, almost one year since the tragedy at Lakeland Mills (see post), I was in Prince George to attend the COFI Convention. While there, I had the opportunity to connect with Sinclar’s President and CEO Greg Stewart at lunch, before heading off to a scheduled meeting with Derek Zral, Export Sales Manager, at the Sinclar office. Fresh off the company’s decision in March to rebuild the sawmill, one couldn’t help but feel a sense of renewal at Sinclar. Energy was high throughout the visit. So it was with real interest that I read about the emotional breaking of the ground at Lakeland earlier this week. In his remarks, Greg Stewart said “We wish this tragedy had never happened, but we are committed to learning from the experience. This new sawmill will be a specialized, future-looking mill that will meet the needs of our employees from the perspective of health, safety and a welcoming working environment.”

A report here in The Prince George Citizen includes the impressive attention to environmental stewardship in effect on site. “Ninety per cent or more of the materials (on the site after the blast) were recycled or reclaimed for use in the new facility,” said the mill’s maintenance superintendent Garth Turner. “All the metals were separated and grouped, either for scrap metal sale or salvage. The old concrete was crushed for use as new aggregate. All the rebar – the reinforcement steel – was broken free from the concrete for recycling. Almost everything was put to use in some way.”

Scheduled to open in August 2014, the new mill will be state of the art. It will continue to produce stud lumber, with the ability to manufacture metric lengths in addition to the American Lumber Standard. It is expected to have a capacity of approximately 200 million FBM. It will be integrated with the existing planer mill, which is still operational, and the energy system Lakeland operates in partnership with the City of Prince George. I’ve learned there are even plans to have a construction webcam available at the Sinclar website. The following images of Monday’s groundbreaking were provided by PRMedia, posted here with their permission.


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Breaking News

We interrupt this news broadcast of Baby Prince’s first visit from Grandma to report breaking news in Prince George, where it is learned that “for the first time in an estimated 70 years, an authentic, Lheidli T’enneth cottonwood canoe has been launched. The maiden voyage of the freshly carved vessel was made on Monday at the Lheidli T’enneth First Nation reserve at the west end of North Nechako Road” (See lead story in today’s Prince George Citizen here).canoe  It is reported that two elders presided over the event.  More than a dozen students  in a special UnBC course in traditional aboriginal canoe carving took part… working from 9 a.m. to 5 pm each day of the course that involved details of log selection, sawing, carving and wood treatment. We return you now to normal coverage of the Royal Baby.    P.S.  New home sales for June in the U.S. exceeded expectations – details to follow soon.
More Breaking News: Prince George!!

Sustainability Street

On Sustainability Street at UBC, you’ll find The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS), described as “a world-class showcase of green construction that celebrates its location and setting, has minimal impact on the environment, and maximizes every inch of interior space to create functional and inspiring spaces for teaching, learning, research and community building” (Source). Located just a short walk from trails that meander down forested cliffs to the ocean and beaches, you can visit the building in the following slick video from naturally:wood.

A Makeover for Smokey

Big news over the weekend came in the form of a new ad campaign for a 69-year icon. We’re told here that even Smokey the Bear is open to change, becoming a “warmer”, more personable character in the process. And in contrast to his traditional role as an ominous forest watchman, the new Smokey even gives ‘bear hugs’ to responsible campers (see commercial below). “Smokey’s actually having conversations,” said Michael Bellavia, president of the agency charged with the campaign’s social media strategy.

Some Days are Diamonds

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resort shuttle to the golf course

Coeur d’Alene 7-19-13

“Floating Green” – Coer d’Alene Resort Golf Course

This image of the floating green at the Coer d’Alene Resort Golf Course was taken upon approach, during the The Inland Lumber Producers 30th Annual Golf Tournament this morning. We certainly hope Brett’s trip report will also include the coveted “Certificate of Achievement” from Coer d’Alene, presented to those who score par on the famously challenging 14th.

~Sawdust~

With temperatures forecast to reach a balmy 26c, it’s a spectacular day here in Vancouver for the Nooner at the Nat, an afternoon at the ballpark hosted by The Building Supply Industry Association of B.C. I’ll be departing the Dakeryn headquarters early to join local suppliers and retailers just in time for the first pitch at 1:05 pm, at sold out Nat Bailey Stadium. Former BCWLA Lumberman of the Year Jake Kerr’s Vancouver Canadians, Northwest League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, will meet the Eugene Emeralds. For some 😉 it’s the opener of a lumberman’s double header of sorts, with July 31st and the B.C. Wholesale Lumber Association’s Night at the Nat fast-approaching. Play ball!

Starts ‘n Permits

This morning’s surprising data is explained by Mark Kennedy at CIBC, posted here with his permission:

  • US housing starts for June came in weaker than expected at 836k vs 950k expected. May numbers were revised slightly higher from 914k to 928k. Permits also weaker than expected at 911k vs 990k expected. May permit numbers also revised slightly higher from 974k to 985k.
  • June weakness almost all attributable to multi family sector where starts fell 26.2% in June after being up 28.2% in May
  • Single family starts in June were at 591k, only 0.8% below May numbers of 596k. Single-family permits in June were at 624k about 0.6% higher than May at 620k. Given where the HMI readings were yesterday – single family starts should be closer to 1MM starts – so we should see strengthening here going forward.
  • While June housing starts were weaker than expected, this is primarily due to the volatile multi-family component, wet weather also likely played a role. However this does not change our underlying thesis of a gradually improving US housing market. We have expected starts this year to be 950k and remain comfortable with this estimate.

Caught in a Trap?

Fur trading has historically developed in concert with sawmilling in many parts of North America. In recent times news regarding impact of economic activities associated with regional resource development in B.C. is heavily weighted around forestry, including fisheries, mining, but not so much concerned with fur trade – or so it seems.  An item in The Prince George Citizen that caught my eye here indicates trappers are still very much in search of elbow room in the woods these days. A lawsuit filed by a Prince George-based guide outfitter and trapper against the provincial government and a long list of sawmill operators and logging companies claims their activities have interfered with his ability to run his business. In his lawsuit, Harry Chingee argues the road building and logging by the companies “significantly reduced” the wildlife on the lands covered by his guiding certificate and two trapline registrations. In all, 22 sawmill operators, logging companies and individual loggers are named in the lawsuit.