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Inspired by Whistler – resort design in Jilin, China

Dora Xue

By Dora Xue

August 29, 2016

Wood boardwalk in Changbai

Wood boardwalk in Changbai

In July I travelled to Changbai Mountain, a popular resort area near Changchun in Jilin Province, with my family to escape from Shanghai’s terribly hot summer. In Changbai, the weather is cool and the air is so fresh. Everything I saw was green:  green trees, green lands.

To my surprise we found a large resort town in Changbai inspired by Canada’s Whistler. The town has been built by Vanke, one of China’s biggest real estate development groups. It is located at the foot of a hill and has several international hotels, a leisure centre and resort villas. Wood has a visible role in the town, in ski lift stations, log houses, brand hotels and decoration.

However, the use of wood is not exclusive to this resort. During my trip in Changbai, I found a lot wood elements used in both buildings and landscaping. You can see wood boardwalks in the forest and wood corridors at transfer stations. I even saw a log washroom which according to the staff cost RMB 1 million (CAD 192,000)!

Here at Canada Wood China we are currently assessing our future position in Jilin. One of the reasons for our interest is that in June 2016 MOHURD announced plans to designate Jilin as a model province for wood construction. The government has set a target which states that 5% of all new buildings should be built with wood by 2020, and this figure should reach 15% by 2030. This is the first time a province has officially set targets for growing a wood construction industry.

Vanke’s tourism real estate in the town

Vanke’s tourism real estate in the town

Resort development, one of our strategic focus areas, is also showing promise in the region. According to a recently published report by the NDRC, by the end of 2016 Jilin plans to build 248 new resort projects.

However, it is worth noting that currently the vast majority of wood used in Jilin is sourced from Russia. Russian wood enjoys a logistics advantage due to a good rail network as well as 10 – 15% price advantage.