The Wellington Shire Council has become the second local government area in Australia to adopt a wood encouragement policy.

The policy encourages the use of wood as the preferred material for construction and fit out of council buildings where appropriate.

The focus of the policy is to ensure wood is considered for the initial stages of projects. Among the goals of the policy are to stimulate sustainable economic development within the Gippsland timber and wood products industry, encourage value adding products, and promote the industry as a renewable resource.

TimberTrader News recently spoke with Carolyn Crossley, Wellington Shire Council Mayor, about their decision to implement this type of policy.

The motivation was that as a council, Wellington Shire has always had a good history of using wood in its infrastructure projects. By formalising this into a formal policy, we’ve acknowledged the significant economic benefits that the timber and forestry industry brings to this region. Architects for the design of the Port of Sale Cultural and Community Hub were selected with consideration of previous works, including the Melton Library and Learning Hub, which was awarded the Australian Timber Design award for Sustainability in 2013.

The catalyst for us moving forward on this policy follows on from a roundtable Wood Encouragement Policy discussion with Latrobe City Council, and a number of Wellington businesses, in June last year.

Wood is preferred where it is deemed a suitable building material for the proposed application, the goals of the Wood Encouragement Policy include stimulating sustainable economic development within the Gippsland timber and wood products industry and encouraging value adding products within the timber industry. Wellington Shire’s timber industry provides a sustainable and durable solution for construction, while using locally grown and manufactured product that adds strength and beauty to any design

We have been encouraged by the positive feedback from organisations including Planet Ark, and we would hope that other councils follow in ours and Latrobe City Council’s lead and support their industry through similar policy leadership.