At RESCON, we're meeting with world leaders in innovation.
That includes a contingent from Sweden representing the City of Vaxjo, named the greenest city in Europe. This city is aiming for 2020 when 50 per cent of all new buildings will be made of wood. But their ultimate goal is to build a city of wood.
I know it's Halloween, but this is not spooky imagery, it's exciting: imagine walking down your street and seeing not only rows of solid wooden homes but mid-rises up to eight storeys primarily made of wood. In another part of town, you see a wooden tennis athletic centre, made by former Swedish star Stefan Edberg, with four courts, supported by a 40-foot wood beam. Meanwhile, on other corners there are shops, offices and municipal buildings - all made primarily with wood.
Vaxjo has a population of 85,000, so we're not comparing apples with apples (don't forget to check them on Saturday!) when we look at the GTA. But Vaxjo is a source of innovation and inspiration for us. We need to make the move towards wood: it's a renewable resource, it has a much smaller carbon footprint compared with other materials such as concrete and steel, there are psychological benefits to living in a home made of wood, and using our natural resources will help us to build homes and other buildings all over the province while creating jobs for the lumber industry in Northern Ontario.
Speaking of innovation, please see my column in the Toronto Sun below which addresses the partnership between RESCON and the University of Toronto to create a Tall Building Research Centre at the university. Tridel, Menkes and Daniels have signed up to be advisers for the centre.
A few other treats: Please see Andrew Pariser's Health & Safety column, and the RCCAO's new report on infrastructure investment, which says a $1-billion investment can reap $1.7 billion in tax revenue for Ontario.
Happy Halloween, folks! Boo!