Timber Community Partnerships
In 2017, Cyclone Debbie tore through the Northern Rivers region of NSW, flooding the Boral processing plant in Murwillumbah. Approximately $10 million worth of flooring, cladding and decking products were affected by moisture, determined usable but unfit for sale.
Boral Timber donated these products, assisting Forestry Corporation of NSW and Planet Ark’s Make It Wood campaign to establish the Community Timber Partnerships Program. The philosophy of the Program is to deliver projects that provide a public benefit.
This partnership has salvaged more than 1000 cubic metres of timber, destined for disposal, to help build renewable and sustainable community projects. The salvaged timber is Australian hardwood sourced from sustainably managed forests. In contrast to other major building materials, wood can help tackle climate change, as wood stores carbon for life and is a renewable source of energy.
The salvaged timber from the Murwillumbah plant has been distributed to groups across NSW, focusing on the coastal areas of the State, with many projects still in the pipeline. There are currently 17 partnership agreements with community groups in place and 15 additional ventures under discussion.
One of the first finished projects that has come from this donation is the Nambucca Mountain Bike Track. Boral’s donation fast-tracked this development and allowed the Nambucca Valley Cycle Club to complete major upgrades to the track, which is open to the public.
Other completed projects include a pergola at Bellingen Public School, a church renovation in South Grafton and a children’s playground at The Nature School in Port Macquarie. The Community Timber Partnerships Program is looking to involve others across the industry to support these projects, with additional donations of sawn timber or timber off-cuts from the forest.
"We had an enormous amount of timber written off for minor damages such as water staining. Salvaging and donating it for use in public projects was our opportunity to give back to the community,” commented Boral Timber executive general manager, Steve Dadd.
"Establishing this partnership has put our flooring and decking to practical use, making good use of a natural resource to enhance so many worthy facilities. We’re excited to see more sustainable timber community projects come to fruition, benefitting thousands of people today as well as future generations."
Nick Roberts, CEO Forestry Corporation of NSW, added, “Forestry Corporation is pleased to have been able to work with Boral and Planet Ark to salvage this timber for community projects. By working together, we are able to give this timber a new lease of life and help create renewable, durable and beautiful timber facilities for many local communities to enjoy.
“Our sustainable forest management practices ensure that trees are continually replanted and regrown, continuing the cycle of regeneration of this ultimate renewable resource. As anyone who has timber floors, decks or fencing can attest, you feel better when timber is around you and finding uses for this timber in our communities will share the benefit of the ultimate renewable resource even further.”