Wood homes investigated as low-cost solution

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times

Timber-framed buildings could be a solution to low-cost housing in Bunbury with the idea being floated by experts.

The use of timber in houses would be in line with the Bunbury Geographe Regional Growth Plan launched last month, which includes the promotion of timber in the region.

Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan revealed to the South Western Times, that “very early” discussions around the idea were under way and the concept could benefit the city socially and economically.

“One of the things about Bunbury is that we’ve been described as too expensive to build in our CBD,” Mr Brennan said.

“So that gives us another option as well, but I’m really focusing on affordable housing.

“It’s very early days, but what we’re looking at is what are the possibilities of constructing timber-framed residential buildings within our city, which would be low-cost and affordable.

“It’s got a fair bit to go, before we can come back and say ‘let’s do this’.”

The discussions are happening between Bunbury City Council, Regional Development Australia, LandCorp and the timber industry.

“The industry experts have to come to us and say ‘yes, we can do something quite creative in that space’,” Mr Brennan said.

He said while the initial plans were likely to focus on housing across the Bunbury area, an offshoot of the concept could be high-density in line with the city’s new town planning scheme.

The idea follows the Dardanup Shire Council’s ambitious policy to construct Wanju completely from timber in a bid to minimise the new city’s carbon footprint.

Forest Industries Federation WA president and WA Plantation Resources chief executive officer Ian Telfer said the move would have multiple benefits for the industry and the economy.

“It makes a lot of sense ... regionally it would value add and grow the local market,” Mr Telfer said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails