Killaloe council encouraged to use wood first

Staff Reporter

– Upcoming municipal buildings within the township of Killaloe-Hagarty-Richards could soon be mandated to be made out of wood.

Jeff Muzzi, a resident of KHR and the Renfrew County’s manager of forestry services, along with Michelle Maybee from Ontario Wood Works, approached council at a special meeting on February 16. They were there to present the benefits of building with wood, and to encourage the township to adopt a wood first resolution.

The township is currently in its infancy stages of designing a new library, which will be likely located near Afelskie’s downtown.

While Muzzi works for the county, he attended the meeting as a ratepayer. He has been in the forestry industry for 38 years and counting.

“One of the main driving factors for me in anything to do with the forest industry is the fact that I have two sons … and I think that the forest industry is a fantastic place for anyone to have a career,” he said. “I would like my boys to have the opportunities to live in their home communities and have a future in the forest industry.”

He said he has been heavily involved in advocating for the industry for many years. But he said he, and many others, are getting tired battling the negative press the forestry industry gets, particularly out of the urban areas.

“The anti-logging misinformation that is out there, it’s even being taught in our schools, it’s very frustrating,” Muzzi said. “One thing, recently, that I found terribly frustrating was to see the new college in Pembroke building up and it’s again, steel and bricks.”

Muzzi said he had pushed for the college to use wood in their designs, but they did not.

“For me that’s a very frustrating thing particularly that they have a faculty of forestry there, and they are graduating forest technicians who are looking for work in this area,” he said. “One of the ways that we can possibly start winning this battle is to start practicing what we preach. We are talking about the use of wood products, yet a lot of our small communities focus on brick and steel.”

He said building the proposed library with wood only makes sense.

“When I heard we were going to build a new library in our township, I thought, why would we even remotely consider building out of anything other than wood? It’s such an intrinsic part of our township, our history,” Muzzi said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for our community to be a leader in this. A rural area like Renfrew County, which is so forestry-dependent, hasn’t done much in terms of leading other than we’ve been doing some talking. I think it’s an opportunity for us here in our own home community to be leaders.”
Muzzi explained that his dream solution would be to see the KHR Township pass a wood first resolution, which would mean all municipal buildings would be built out of wood.

This story continues in the February 23, 2012 issue of The Valley Gazette.