Council pushes an all timber build for city

Brooke RolfeSouth Western Times

Dardanup Shire Council wants the new city of Wanju to be constructed completely from timber in an ambitious bid to minimise the development’s carbon footprint.

The council has formulated a policy which encourages the use of locally-sourced plantation timber in all developments.

With an estimated future population of 50,000 people, the council hopes Wanju will become an energy efficient city with an emphasis on “off-the-grid” living.

Outlined in a council report, the Wood Encouragement Policy recommends timber products be used as a first option in building projects, providing they are derived from a renewable and sustainable source.

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Shire president Mick Bennett said the initiative would include both interior and exterior designs and would even extend to furniture and feature walls.

Although the city is still about five years from starting, Cr Bennett said the council was confident it would pave the way for developing environmentally sustainable communities.

He said building with wood provided both a time and cost efficient alternative to bricks and also offered “lots of opportunities” in terms of street appeal.

“We’re trying to get away from what is standard and look for something that’s a bit different,” he said.

A focus on lightweight construction could also mean a build-time of less than three months, according to Cr Bennett.

Cr Bennett said it was important the council prioritised environmentally sustainable options in the planning stages of Wanju, including encouraging the use of solar power.

“We’re hoping that with people spending far less on their power bills, they will spend more on timber products,” he said.

“It’s important that we alert people to the fact that utilising wood in their buildings is a positive thing.”

Cr Bennett said the council was looking at ways to inform the public about building with wood and would consider the use of educational pamphlets.

The policy, which was outlined in a council report, said information would be shared with developers about the benefits of utilising wood in construction which involved “promoting timber products as a renewable resource”.

He said looking at alternative types of construction was part of the council’s carbon friendly approach to new developments.

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