The new RCMP detachment in Prince George isn't even open yet and it is already an award-winner.
The eye-catching downtown building on Victoria Street was announced as one of this year's winners of the Wood WORKS! BC citations for construction designs showing "a passion and appreciation for wood," according to the agency's officials.
Wood WORKS! made the announcement at the Union of BC Municipalities conference in Vancouver.
"The awards are presented annually to local governments that have been exemplary advocates for wood," said Mary Tracey, executive director of Wood WORKS!, a division of the Canadian Wood Council). "This may be demonstrated through the specification of wood in a community project and/or through visionary initiatives that work toward building a community culture of wood."
The other 2013 winners included the Salt Spring Island Library, the Kuskanax Creek Footbridge in Nakusp, the Glenmore administration building in Kelowna, and the North Vancouver City Hall.
"We congratulate these communities for demonstrating leadership and vision by embracing wood in their local projects," said Tracey. "Their projects showcase excellence in wood building and design, as well as an appreciation for the strength, beauty and versatility of wood, making local government projects better, and our communities stronger."
Representatives of the North Central Local Government Association and the City of Prince George accepted the honour.
While some critics complain that interesting designs for public buildings are too costly for taxpayers, Tracey stressed that building in elements of wood stimulates the forest sector and makes a positive impression as a calling card for towns and cities as they compete for investment dollars and population base.
"B.C.'s local governments want to use wood for many reasons, including the desire to build more sustainable communities and to realize the significant socio-economic benefits," she said. "They also want their public buildings to tell their story. Wood does that, as there is a strong historical connection to wood in B.C., bringing pride to towns and cities, and leaving a legacy for its citizens."
Tracey noted that this year the province surpassed the milestone of 50 local governments adopting Wood First commitments in support of the province's Wood First Act, which requires provincially-funded projects to use wood as the primary building material within the B.C. Building Code.