SURROUNDED by piles of teak, red ironbark wood and hand-crafted furniture, Adrian Willamson is in his eco-friendly element.
The 56-year-old furniture maker has turned his life-long hobby of turning recycled quality wood into outdoor furniture into a thriving local business.
Mr Willamson’s original pieces have caught the eyes of locals and Lismore City Council, who have asked him to create benches for Woodlark Street as part of the council’s beautification project.
But it is the 60 solar panels on the roof of his workshop and his ‘accidental’ ecological creations that attract customers nationwide.
“I didn’t even realise the eco side of my work was interesting until people from Melbourne and Sydney started ordering furniture after seeing it was made from recycled wood,” Mr Willamson said.
“I looked for better quality wood first, then the ecological aspect came after that and the solar panels after that.
“Then I realised my carbon footprint is virtually non-existent.
“I think it’s really great that the council approached me about making chairs for the project and think its important they want to keep it local,” he said.
Since starting his furniture-making business 15 years ago, Mr Willamson has made furniture out of wood collected from the Lang Park grandstand in Brisbane and from bits of teak originally from Papua New Guinea, found under the wreckage of an old Queenslander house.
The Nimbin resident gets a kick out of finding these unique pieces of wood and has become a prime example of how to balance financial and environmental sustainability.
“By using solar panels I get to use a Country Energy incentive and in the long term I pay almost no electricity bills,” Mr Willamson said.
“And I use recycled wood from timberyards that I really enjoy sourcing.
“I get very excited when a truck comes through with new wood,” he said.
Mr Willamson is making 18 benches for the Woodlark Street Beautification Project which is being both anticipated and criticised by locals.
Lismore City Council executive director of infrastructure services, Garry Hemsworth is assuring local businesses the project is nearly completed, weather permitting.
“We hope to have the workmen out of the site by April 10th, after which there are only a few final instalments but no workmen taking up space,” Mr Hemsworth said.
“We are pretty close to schedule as we initially predicted to be completed by early April as long as the rain does not cause too much of an interference.
“We understood that it was going to be difficult and we have tried to keep local businesses realistically informed but at the end of the day things like parking should be able to be delivered,” Mr Hemsworth said.