Saturday, 6 September 2008

Ecovillage Currumbin Australia - living there!

Exciting things are happening in Currumbin Valley where the World’s Best Environmental Residential Development is being established.

(photo Ecovillage Currumbin)

This picture indicates the site of the Currumbin Ecovillage just seven minutes drive from a beach on Queensland's Gold Coast.

My daughter Lynne and her husband John will soon be part of this brilliant community as their new rammed earth home is almost at lock-up stage and they hope to move in within a couple of months. It's a thrilling time when they visit to see what's happening on site.

The title ‘World’s Best’ is not just kite flying. The Currumbin Ecovillage was awarded the prestigious International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) Award for World's Best Environmental Development in Amsterdam this June.

The village already had been recognised as Queensland's Best Small Residential Subdivision for the past two years, and as Best Ecologically Sustainable Development by the Urban Development Institute of Australia in 2007. It has also gained another nineteen awards at local, state and national levels.


The Ecovillage, located at the entrance to the Currumbin Valley on Queensland's southern Gold Coast, is established as a quality residential community comprising 144 eco-homes with community facilities, including a Village Centre.

Eighty per cent of the 110 hectare site will be open space and the project has already received full six category accreditation with the scientifically-based industry branding system, EnviroDevelopment.

Accreditation rewards commitment in the areas of eco-systems, waste management, energy, building materials, water and development of community.

For those who will live there all of this means being part of a sustainable community nestled in a beautiful largely unspoiled valley only 7km from the beach.

Lynne and John will be living in a cluster of just eight homes called a hamlet, lying within metres of the crystal clear Currumbin Creek – a great swimming place.

It will mean living alongside real kangaroos and echidnas who know the place is theirs every bit as much as it is the human beings'. It is rare in Australia to see wild life so much a part of a residential area.

There will be some fun while they all learn to respect each others rights as veggie gardens are being established!

The building in the background is a sewage and water treatment works. The village is off the normal supply and the recycled water will be available to all residents for their gardens and used to help produce forests of food trees and even a rice paddy on the open space lands. There are also many dams on site to collect water run-off, and tanks are used extensively.

Solar panels are used and allow residents to supplement the general power supply.

Here the kangaroos are on land designated for recreation and sports grounds and the area just this side of Lynne and John's house (in the background) will be their own private garden patch that was additional to the house block in their purchase package.

This Ecovillage chook shed is portable, allowing the owners to shift the animals around to new grass each day, providing fresh food and incidentally fertilising the lawn! The plump birds roam around during daylight, going home at night for protection against foxes.

Lynne and John plan to have a chook shed on their garden plot.

John snapped mother and daughter enjoying a cuppa at a picnic shelter near their new house.

This is part of the pedestrian and bicycle path that wends its way throughout the village, from hamlet to hamlet. It is mandatory for kitchen areas of the houses to face this path, encouraging community.

I will do another post later about the Ecovillage building code that makes the village so community- and eco-friendly, with long term savings in terms of energy, water, garbage collection and other bills.

Villagers have decorated the paths using plants to make stencils for their art work. Even though only a fraction of the residents have moved in, the community spirit is already in evidence.

In fact, this path inscription(below) seems to capture some of the spirit of the place.

These community facilities are under way, with some completed and in use.

The fine community hall, now boasting a large commercial kitchen and outdoor entertainment areas, was launched on Australia Day in January this year. The Co-Founder of the village Chris Walton (green shirt) was in the thick of the bush dance held on the day. He and his partner Kerry Shepherd have devoted their lives to the Ecovillage project for many years.

The barbecue lunch was a hit ...

As were the various forms of energy efficient transport ruled as mandatory for the day. Have you ever seen a happier group of swaggies?

The staff pressed their office chairs into service.

And Martin rode a unicycle ...

Highlight was the official opening of the beautiful Ridgey Didge Bridge - a $A1 million connection across the Currumbin Creek from the Creek Eco Hamlets to the two other sections of the village - the Terraces and the Highlands Hamlets.

Below is the view from the bridge ...

and into the burgeoning Terraces hamlets ...

As was fitting on Australia Day, across the newly opened bridge the villagers walked ...

Pulling together towards a sustainable future!