A private member’s bill brought forward by Whitecourt-Ste. Anne MLA George Vanderburg has passed in the Alberta Legislature.

Bill 203 amends the safety codes act to allow wood-constructed buildings to be built to a maximum of six storeys across the province.

The bill now lines up with changes made by the City of Calgary last year to its building code, which allows permit applications for six-storey wood-frame buildings in approved land use zones.

Vanderburg says there has been consultations with local fire departments over this bill. “The issue with fire exists during construction when the sprinklers aren’t installed and the firewalls and such haven’t been installed…the issue the fire departments have had is during construction it’s a very tough fire to battle.”

On March 7th, a four-storey wood frame condo building under construction went up in flames on 17th Avenue at Centre Street, leaving many of the building’s walls standing without additional backing.

Vanderburg adds, it’ll really have a positive impact on our local economy and workforce.

Government officials say wood is approximately 10 to 20 per cent cheaper than other materials, which means more jobs within the forestry industry and big savings to be passed on to Alberta consumers.