On the 25th of March 2019, Eco Villages Australia purchased the first eco village site in Maleny, a lovely town with a green heart on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. This means that EVA has taken its first property off the speculative market and into collective stewardship!
Photos: Simon Cole, Andrew McLean and Claire Ogden celebrating 'SOLD", but not before the paperwork was done.
The property is 3.4 acres in size with lots of mature trees, a lovely dam, some old sheds and a ramshackle cottage. The property borders a small wetland area owned by Council, the Maleny Showgrounds and a number of residential properties. This unique and beautiful site has so much potential and we cannot wait for people to see it.
This town has a traditional green heart with a rich history of co-operatives, alternative ideas, and bohemian culture. It’s the perfect place to start an eco village. It also receives the most rainfall of any town in South East Queensland - up to 2000mm per year. Maleny has suffered gentrification of late and is seriously in need of affordable housing. The town has good services, some public transport and is only twenty-five minutes from the famous Crystal Waters Permaculture Village. We know that there are lots of people who want to live in lovely Maleny.
Why this property?
After much thought as to what size property we should be looking for, we decided that small is beautiful. On a small property we can:
manage the land without being overwhelmed by the burden of large acreage.
cluster housing to make an easily walkable eco village in the co-housing style. This is the most ecological way to design residential areas.
live within our means financially. We have bought this property for $656 000 outright without any bank loan. This was made possible through 0% interest loans from the EVA directors. Requests for people to contribute loans to Eco Villages Australia will go out in the future once the dust settles and the planning begins.
offer a car-free lifestyle to residents. This property is located only 800m walk from the main street which means that people can access schools, the library, the Showgrounds, parks, the Maleny Community Centre, Obi Obi Creek boardwalk, the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre, shops, cafes and public transport by bike or foot. It will be easier to develop a car-sharing scheme as people won't need to get in a car to go anywhere as is the case with rural acreage.
After looking at many properties that already have housing on them, we decided to instead purchase land that doesn't have houses that are ready to live in. This is because we understand the importance of good design. We want to make eco village life fun and easy with a good balance between privacy and community. After much thought, we realised that if this is worth doing, it's worth doing properly and so the eco village will be designed and built entirely by the forming community in consultation with professionals.
Next Steps: Settlement is on the 7th of May 2019. The property is very overgrown and needs a lot of love to tidy it up. Dates for work parties coming soon!