Natural Resources Canada supporting sustainable and innovative wood construction

Image: Darwin Vegher/Unsplash

Jonathan Wilkinson, the Canadian Minister of Natural Resources, has announced a CA$887,000 investment to support the replacement of the Duchesnay Creek Bridge that connects the City of North Bay, Ontario, Canada, and the Nipissing First Nation, Ontario. The Government of Ontario contributed $17m. The bridge opened in August 2021.

This is in line with Canada’s goal of investing in the increased use of wood in Canada’s construction industry, to achieve their climate change goals while increasing the demand for Canadian wood products and creating jobs for Canadians. The goal is supported by Natural Resources Canada, a department of the federal Government of Canada that researches and develops policies on natural resources, energy, minerals and metals, forests, earth sciences, mapping, and remote sensing.

The funding supported the design and construction of the new replacement bridge and was made with the intention of maintaining the original timber aesthetic of the old bridge. The bridge was built through a limited partnership of Nipissing First Nation and Miller Paving, which provided employment and training opportunities for the community. This project will help promote the use of mass timber in highway bridges across Canada. By building with wood, this project will result in a total carbon benefit of 991 metric tonnes of CO2, which is equivalent to taking over 190 cars off the road for a full year.

Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, said, “Using green construction materials and including employment and training opportunities with the local community, this project shows others how to make sure what we build as a country can help with our goals of a cleaner and more inclusive country. A big congratulations to all involved.”

Funding for this project is provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Green Construction through Wood programme, which encourages the use of wood in non-traditional construction projects, such as tall and low-rise non-residential buildings and bridges. The programme aims to position Canada as a world leader in innovative timber construction systems and technologies and in the low-carbon economy, and also help Canada achieve its 2030 climate change goals.

Wilkinson concluded: “There is no solution to climate change that does not involve our forests. Creating new markets for Canadian timber supports our forestry workers, creates jobs and gets us to net-zero. By supporting the use of wood in construction, we are taking action to protect our planet and support our communities.”