The official openings of an elderly care centre and elementary school complete the $8-million Canada-B.C. Earthquake Reconstruction Initiative, announced by the Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources and Pat Bell, Minister Jobs, Tourism and Innovation.
B.C. and Canada moved quickly to offer humanitarian and economic development support through a reconstruction program after a May 2008 earthquake devastated central China. The completed projects were Mianyang School for Disabled, Beichuan Elderly Care Centre, Huayan Elementary School and Xiang'E primary school. All of the buildings use wood-frame construction and wood building products from B.C.
"The reconstruction of these buildings means hundreds of school children and seniors are now housed in proper facilities," said Bell. "This is a humanitarian benefit that has received national recognition across China."
Bell also noted that Chinese officials have praised the use of B.C. wood-frame technology to build the facilities. Modern wood-frame construction is earthquake-resistant and well-suited to building conditions in many parts of China. The Wenchuan Earthquake Reconstruction Initiative has raised awareness of the seismic resistance of woodframe construction across China. The media coverage in China is estimated to be worth approximately $1.2 million in equivalent ad value.
"This collaborative effort between the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia clearly demonstrates how vitally important the relationship between China and Canada has become," said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources. "We are proud to support the reconstruction effort and share our modern expertise in high quality wood frame construction."
The earthquake killed tens of thousands and left five million homeless. Many of the deaths were due to the collapse of poorly built concrete buildings.
Wood-frame construction promoted by B.C. is gaining widespread acceptance in China. B.C. is now the largest supplier of softwood lumber to China. 2011 sales to the end of August were valued at $747 million.
The announcement was made during Premier Christy Clark's B.C. Jobs and Trade Mission - the largest trade mission in the province's history to promote B.C. as a safe harbour for investment. The Jobs and Trade Mission is focused on strengthening existing relationships between B.C. and Asian markets, opening doors for new relationships and setting the stage for future opportunities in China and India. Delegates from more than 130 companies and organizations are accompanying the Premier as part of the effort to defend and create jobs here at home. Health Minister Mike de Jong will also be accompanying the Premier during her time in India.
Japan and Hong Kong are also on the jobs and trade mission itinerary. Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson will travel to Japan and Bell ends his part of the mission in Hong Kong.
- The Canada-B.C. Earthquake Reconstruction Initiative includes $5 million from the Government of B.C. and $3 million from the Government of Canada.
- The Beichuan Elderly Care Centre is 5,600 square metres and can accommodate over 200 residents.
- The commercial centre is the Chengdu Market Street project, an 869 square metre mixed-use facility made up of a ground floor of concrete construction and two upper floors of wood-frame construction, which house the Huayan Elementary School. Mixed use buildings are quite common in China as they can be used for a combination of retail, commercial and residential purposes.
- The Xiang'e primary school in Dujiangiyan, for 540 students completed construction in 2009.
- The Mianyang School is 5,900 square metres, can accommodate up to 300 students and completed construction in 2010.
- The reconstruction project provided a mix of design support, quality assurance, onsite project management and lumber materials for each building project.
Ministry Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
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