Timber industry revival: WA town unveils one of the biggest timber buildings in 80 years
Author: David Rowlinson
First published in ABC News
A tiny wheatbelt town has received the keys to the biggest civic timber construction in Western Australia in nearly 80 years, as the state's timber industry shows signs of revival. The Shire of Pingelly decided to build its new Recreation and Cultural Centre entirely out of timber — and the result is without a modern-day rival.
Not since the Merredin aircraft hangars of World War II has any public organisation built with timber on such a large scale. Shire of Pingelly President Bill Mulroney said he is confident the size and style of the new building, which opens this week, will attract wedding parties and corporate events from Perth.
Mr Mulroney said cost estimates for the timber design of the new building came in around the same as brickwork. "We decided we would have something really good, and we went for timber … the timber will make it a longer life and make it better looking than bricks and mortar, which can age over years," he said.
The shire built its new recreation and cultural centre in just over a year, at a total cost of $9.1 million. One thousand tonnes of yellow stringy bark, sourced from a plantation near Manjimup, created the walls, floor and decking, with the structural timber imported from New Zealand and constructed by Sime Building and Construction.
"When you see so much timber in this building, it provides a very calming sort of feel, a very warm and homely atmosphere," Sime director Stephen Sime said.
The new facility will be used primarily to host a range of local sporting and social activities."People in the country don't have to put up with second-rate facilities when their counterparts in the cities have all the good facilities," Mr Mulroney said.
Author: David RowlinsonMake it Wood Program Manager
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