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Hello GSBN, and greetings from the eager beavers in Canada!
At the recent ISBBC in Denmark, it was suggested by many participants that
the next international conference (2006) be hosted in Canada. At the time,
I told everyone that it would take a commitment from a good team here
before it was appropriate for us to host such an event. Over the past
month, it has become quite clear to me that there is a great deal of
support for the idea, and so we'd like to "formally" propose our intention
to host the 2006 ISBBC.
The Ontario Straw Bale Building Coalition would be the official host of
the event (making it the OSBBC ISBBC!), and we can expect the support and
involvement of Sir Sandford Fleming College and other participating
organizations as well. We would like to hold the conference in/near the
city of Peterborough, which is centrally located in the province and
happens to boast a large number of bale builders and buildings.
Specifically, we would like to hold the main proceedings at Camp Kawartha,
a beautiful location with great kitchen facilities, cabins and a new straw
bale dining hall, just recently completed. We would like to schedule the
event in the fall (September or October) of 2006, when the weather is
great, the mosquitoes are gone and the fall colours are in full display.
The conference itself would have three main facets to it:
1) The main conference proceedings would be focused on areas of
"professional development" in bale building. At the heart of this idea
will be an international design contest, to be held in advance of the
conference. The winning designs (there will be several categories,
including young designers, residential and commercial design) will become
"living workshops" for the conference participants. We will be able to
focus sessions around various aspects of these building designs, with the
outcomes of each session resulting in real world outcomes when the designs
are built. High among our priorities will be the integration of straw bale
with other natural and sustainable building disciplines, so we bale
builders are able to meet and discuss issues with other professionals, as
well as work together toward best practices. These sessions will be both
hands-on and theoretical. Underlying the sessions will be the attempt to
keep the wild beating heart and soul of bale building flourishing while
simultaneously being professional and thorough.
2) A green building fair open to the public will be a focus for us. We
would like to have the conference span a weekend, so that Saturday and
Sunday can be focused on public awareness. With so many international
guests and knowledgeable folks on hand, we'd like to have public sessions
on bale and other forms of natural building, codes, renewable energy and
other stuff that people seem hungry for. Admissions revenues from this
part of the conference will help to fund the whole enterprise. In addition
to public sessions, we will also try to organize sessions with high
ranking building officials and Ministry of Housing types. Bus tours of the
many bale homes in the area can also be part of the weekend agenda.
3) Goofing off is a valued ISBBC tradition, and we'll goof off in the best
Canadian way. Camp Kawartha will be able to offer lots of outdoor
activities (including that old Canadian favourite, moose wrasslin'). We'll
have an afternoon of "straw bale olympics" and great music and dancing
(Peterborough is a musical hotbed). It may be possible that beer will be
available, and we'll try to infuse the whole event with what passes for
humour in this part of the world.
I think we have an amazing team on board for this event, including a
professional "green" organizer, the multi-talented OSBBC members, students
and faculty from Fleming College and lots of eager volunteers. So, we're
all keen to do it, and we're now turning to the GSBN to consider our
proposal and collectively decide if our group of hockey-stick wielding
Canucks (can we do a workshop on the feasibility of a straw-composite
hockey stick?) are the right bunch to host you all in 2006.
I'd be quite happy to have discussions on the matter take place on GSBN,
or feel free to contact me directly at cmagwood@...