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Government advisor recognized as 'wood advocate'

The provincial government hired a firm that was subsequently recognized as a "wood advocate" to provide structural engineering advice on its controversial decision to allow taller wood-frame buildings.

On Nov. 17, 2008, Read Jones Christoffersen Inc. was given the Ontario "Engineer Wood Advocate Award" by Wood WORKS!, a national campaign to "increase the use of wood in commercial, industrial and provincial governments across Canada."

The award recognizes "those individuals who contribute to the selection of wood in a project, who overcome objections related to wood use ... and who lead the way for future projects in wood."

Asked why Read Jones Christoffersen was recognized, Wood WORKS! marketing co-ordinator Tim Buhler explained, "Read Jones has a long history of using wood in the projects. So that's basically what the jury based their selection on for that year." Click here to find out more!

In fact, between 2006 and 2007, Read Jones Christofferson won four Ontario Wood WORKS! awards in different categories.

Asked about the company's work for the government and its award wins, company principal Jeff Corbett declined comment. "I said earlier that I didn't want to answer any questions. It sounds like you're asking me the questions you were going to ask me. So goodbye."

Nor did he have much to say about Read Jones Christofferson recent reported sponsorship of two Urban Development Institute presentations on the government's decision to allow six storey wood-frames. "We're a member of UDI and they ask their members to sponsor various events," he noted.

Sean Holman is the legislative reporter for Vancouver 24 hours and appears regularly on The Hook.

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