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NEWS RELEASE · 20th April 2010
Ministry of Forest and Range
The newly-formed Wood Enterprise Coalition, backed with $1.75 million in seed funding, will help B.C. achieve its Wood First objectives, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced today.

"British Columbia is home to a number of organizations and businesses that work hard to promote the use of innovative wood products," said Bell. "The Wood Enterprise Coalition was created to focus these efforts. By reducing overlap and leveraging each other's strengths and expertise, we can do more to promote the use of wood in commercial and institutional construction."

The Wood Enterprise Coalition is a partnership between WoodWORKS! BC, FPInnovations, and the BC Wood Specialties Group. As outlined in the Wood Enterprise Coalition memorandum of understanding, the partners will co-ordinate their efforts to support the value-added forest product sector through promotion, education, training, product development and innovation. Governed by the managing organizations and supported by an advisory board, the coalition structure allows for additional resources and new participants to join as it moves forward.

"WoodWORKS! BC is excited to be a part of the renewed interest and renaissance in building with wood," said Mary Tracey, executive director, WoodWORKS! BC, a program of the Canadian Wood Council. "I look forward to working with my colleagues as we build momentum in the 'Wood First' movement in B.C., across Canada and around the world."

"Individually, our organizations pursue similar goals and objectives," said Grant McKinnon, chair of BC Wood Specialties Group. "This coalition brings us together in a way that provides British Columbia with a more efficient, cost-effective framework to implement wood- focused activities."

The coalition's key work goals to March 2012 include:
* Advancing Wood First demonstration and pilot projects.
* Increasing public communication around the benefits of using wood.
* Developing a Wood First education and training strategy, including
support for the planned Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George.
* Supporting implementation of Wood First policies and construction.
* Supporting commercialization of new wood products.

"FPInnovations contributes leading-edge, forest-based scientific knowledge to the forest industry across Canada," said Jim Dangerfield, executive vice president of FPInnovations. "FPInnovations is eager, along with our coalition partners, to apply our collective expertise to our shared goals, which will lead to a stronger, more innovative forest sector."

British Columbia's Wood First Initiative is a range of activities designed to revitalize the Province's forest sector and increase the use of wood in construction, interior design and daily living. The Wood Enterprise Coalition was first identified in the Ministry of Forests and Range's 2009 Report, "Generating More Value from Our Forests: A Vision and Action Plan for Further Manufacturing."

More information on the Wood First Initiative is available online at www.for.gov.bc.ca/mof/woodfirst/.