New timber mill for Hervey Bay
GO TO the loo and know you’re growing trees.
Eight hundred thousand of them actually – and many of them will turn into power poles.
Wide Bay Water, Australia’s only water business accredited to trade carbon with the Federal Government, yesterday announced it had branched out into a deal with the Endeavour Foundation to set up a timber mill on WBW’s Pulgul Farm in Hervey Bay.
“Endeavour will soon be milling the hardwoods we’ve been planting for five years on four of our seven farms,” acting CEO David Wiskar said.
“This will give jobs to up to 20 people, many with disabilities, and it will all come from Hervey Bay’s waste water, which we’re recycling in excess of 92 per cent.”
The bold project is in the hands of WBW’s Damien Pressnell, the corporation’s water re-use development officer, who unashamedly says: “I love this job; if they sacked me I’d do it voluntarily.”
Endeavour Foundation’s commercial manager Robert Henderson plans to have the mill up and running in the first half of this year – once through council approval processes.
“The project will return income to the city and 18 months ago we struck a contract to sell the mature trees to Ergon Energy for power poles,” Mr Wiskar said.
Damien Pressnell and his team of three, plus the help of the Federal Government-subsidised dedicated Green Army, made up of the long-term unemployed, nurture the five farms.
“It was a matter of realising we could pour the 3650 megalitres waste water into the ocean for a capital works outlay topping $30 million, or for fewer dollars we could re-use it to enrich surrounding cane farms, nurseries and a turf farm, along with our plantations,” Mr Wiskar said.
“We’re looking at a 20 per cent to 30 per cent less rainwater fall over the coming decades and we’re in the business of selling water so a yield of about 1 million trees by the end of this year makes environmental and business sense.”
WBW’s annual carbon earnings alone from the forests will be $100,000 to $120,000.
“The projected end earnings from the power poles will be $300 per pole,” arborist Damien Pressnell said. “Calculate that at 150-200 poles per hectare and the result is seriously significant.”
But quite apart from the poles, said Mr Pressnell, the Endeavour enterprise will also produce sawdust, mining pegs and cabinet timbers from the new mill.