Quesnel is at the centre of the mass-timber conversation. At the recent forestry think tank he helped organize, former MLA/mayor Bob Simpson summed it up when he said it was the only mathematical way the desired structures of the province were going to be built either on time or on budget “because there is no workforce.”
When premier David Eby came to Quesnel last week to visit the Lhtako Dene Nation’s many recent construction projects, Simpson urged his former caucus colleague on the issue.
“Mass-timber is not optional anymore, it is necessary. We need to get there as fast as possible, if you’re going to realize any kind of building objectives.”
Simpson said the government’s plan for mass-timber is “aspirational” but the regulatory framework is missing. If the red tape was cut, mass-timber factories could pump out buildings that would be transported by train or truck to the needed locations and get snapped into place in a fraction of the time of traditional homes.
Those regulations have alreay been written in other jurisdictions and just need to be pasted into the B.C. context.
“It’s all pre-made. It’s Lego. The building inspection model is in the design and schematics phase,” Simpson said.
Using this method also means environmental objectives are helped, neighbourhoods aren’t bogged down in long construction closures, and the building’s business can get going quicker, which helps the bottom line.
What the province needs, said Simpson, is a regulatory captain, a short-term government office dedicated to getting mass-timber into full play.