[Updated Sept. 19, 2011 to include link to BC Bid]
PRINCE GEORGE - Premier Christy Clark is calling on architects, designers and engineers for ideas on how to create the world's tallest multi-use wood building in Prince George.
The iconic structure - to be located at the site of the Prince George Hotel - will house the Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC), which will revitalize the forest industry and support generations of jobs for local and rural economies.
"Thousands of families throughout the rural and northern region of British Columbia depend on the forest industry," said Premier Clark. "The work, training and research coming out of the Wood Innovation and Design Centre will expand the scope and size of our markets, creating good paying jobs throughout the province."
To kick-start the project, the Province is issuing a Request for Expression of Interest document to solicit input from the design and construction industries regarding building design, construction and procurement attributes. The City of Prince George will allow the land occupied by the Prince George Hotel to be the new home of the Wood Innovation and Design Centre. Construction of the centre should begin by 2012.
For the Request for Expression of Interest document, visit: http://www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca/open.dll/welcome
The building will house academic and research programs focused on advancing B.C.'s expertise in wood-related products, and highlight new and innovative wood building products and techniques. The University of Northern British Columbia and other post-secondary institutions are examining programming options, such as housing the university's future engineering program and a research chair on tall wood construction. The remaining building space will be available to the private sector for retail and residential and commercial leasing space.
"Our government has been increasingly aggressive in marketing our wood products abroad and expanding our markets, so it's imperative that B.C. lead by example and be world leaders in wood construction, engineered wood products and design," said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell. "This new centre will showcase wood as an affordable, versatile and sustainable and make Prince George a hub for job creation in the forests industry."
"The community of Prince George has been built, in large part, by the hard-working men and women in the forest industry so it is very fitting that this state of the art facility will be built here in Northern BC," said Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond. "Research and innovation will play a key role in the forest industry of the future and ensuring we have trained professionals to support that work is critical. I am looking forward to the outcome of the Expression of Interest process."
"We are extremely pleased to hear that the Province is moving ahead with its proposed Wood Innovation and Design Centre. This is a major catalyst project that aligns strongly with our efforts to improve downtown," said Dan Rogers, mayor of Prince George. "Council's agreement to provide the land for this development is driven in large part by the opportunity to tie into our district energy system to provide green energy for the building, build our city's educational presence downtown, and revitalize historic George Street. With downtown catalyst projects like this one, we will continue to build the city and region's future as a knowledge-based resource economy, connected to the world."
Apart from UNBC, the Province is also working closely with other post-secondary institutions and the Wood Enterprise Coalition to ensure that programming provided in the Wood Innovation and Design Centre advances B.C.'s wood-first agenda.
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation