There’s a real village atmosphere, which is a credit to the developers who had such a great vision for sustainable living and connecting people who live within it. Our two teenagers are even enjoying it. They like having a home that is so pleasant to live in, with the added bonus of riding down the rapids on the creek on their boogie boards after the rain.
We enjoy the country like atmosphere; the expanses of green all around and how fast our garden is growing. The community amenities are a focal point and we regularly ride our bikes for a swim in the pool to relax on a hot day. Our home is wonderfully livable and we plan to be here for a long time.
Will and Karen Collins
My husband (a solicitor) and I (a teacher, currently on maternity leave) have a young daughter and a son. We moved into the Ecovillage in April 2007. There are so many things we love about living at The Ecovillage it is hard to know where to start! Every morning we let out our 6 chickens, who provide us with more eggs than we can eat, and we pick the vegetables that we need for dinner. When the sun is shining our solar panels provide us with all our electricity. The rainwater we drink tastes great and the recycled water means that even when it’s dry the garden never is. In the afternoons we stroll over to the fantastic swimming pool and playground and meet up with other parents and children.
We know our neighbours, and have lots of laughs doing all kinds of things from playing badminton on the grass to building chicken runs with them. Living here feels like going back to the good old days with all the added benefits of today’s technology.
Ian Kennedy & Sascha Valewink
I was attracted to living at the Ecovillage because of my desire to live in a “real” house within a “real village”. The people I have met here care about each other and have our children and grandchildren’s future in mind. Everyone is here for a reason, whether it be for their own quality of life or helping the environment and everything in between.
My dream………..to live amongst kind, caring, wise, thoughtful, positive, creative people in a beautiful nurturing setting. I have to leave here far too often to go to my place of earning money. My intention is to live AND work here so I never have to leave!!”
Many community members are now enjoying life in their own homes within The Ecovillage. Here’s what a few of them have to say:
When we first heard of the Ecovillage we weren’t sure about the concept as the only eco-communities we knew of were the old hippie communes of the 60s. Once we made the decision, however, we discovered how far removed this perception was. Living in the Ecovillage has transformed my family’s lifestyle. Here are just a few examples:
- My kids (6 and 8 yrs old) are much more independent and spend most of their time outside the way we did as kids;
- My husband and I, who work from home, are surrounded by idyllic scenery populated by kangaroos, remarkable birdlife and even the occasional echidna;
- We knew no one on the Gold Coast when we arrived six months ago but the Ecovillage community is big enough that we have now met plenty of people we like and have a great social life of fire-pit parties, BBQs, swimming pool gatherings or just Friday night drinks;
- We can pick the kids up from school and be at the beach in 7 minutes;
- The village hub website means we can find babysitters or walking buddies, sell our unwanted goods and share information with the rest of the community, at the click of a button;
- Our last electricity bill was a credit of $25 – our EcoVision (house information) system, which shows us how much energy we use, means that even the kids turn the lights off when they leave a room;
- We now eat fruit and vegetables that our children pick from our garden every night, courtesy of the shared knowledge on organic growing that I have learnt since being here. The free range eggs we buy from other residents are a steal at $5 a dozen – the largest eggs I’ve ever seen.
I can honestly say that the reality of living here has far exceeded even my greatest expectations. Perhaps the biggest accolade is that we regularly do house swaps and everyone who has stayed here has pleaded to come back as they love living in our eco-resort.
We had been living in London for 7 years when we decided to move back to where we both ‘grew up’… and after a 3 month trekking trip and seeing first hand what was happening to the wildlife and environment in Europe (due to climate change) we decided to make as little impact to our environment when we bought/build our new home. How excited we were when we discovered that the Ecovillage was on our doorstep!
We moved into our new eco-designed home just before Christmas and we love coming home to our ‘home’, where our home isn’t like the house next door. We have the most wonderful neighbours and that is ALL the people living in the village as well as those that live within our hamlet. We have tried to have as little impact on the environment as possible and we have timber in our house that you can’t even buy anymore – beautiful 2nd hand doors, the list is endless! Some parts of our home are over 130 years of age. My daughter and I can spend hours watching the wildlife and the views. Our latest thing to do is construct a living roof over our garage – what fun! Eva has so many little friends to grow up with.. what a wonderful place and way to grow up.
Amanda, Travis and Eva Quennell
What a day that was! Our first day in our new home in the Ecovillage and lots of action, beds assembled and made up, desks and chairs brought in, boxes unpacked, rubbish everywhere, streams of well-wishing visitors, lists of things to do. At the end of it we sat down in the lounge room and congratulated ourselves on the days work and the years journey. In my quiet reverie I took in the rammed earth walls, the lofty pine clad ceilings, the views in all directions I’m pleased we persisted.
Since then the rubbish has been removed, the lists reduced but the views have never changed. Life has settled to a nice pattern. For the next year, Denise’s sister and husband will be sharing the house with us whilst they build their own house in the Ecovillage. This is a wonderful arrangement as we are all close.
So what is a typical day like? It’s a mix of regular and random events. It may well start with my poring over the jigsaw puzzle on the lounge room table and then be interrupted by Peter suggesting it’s time for a bike ride. We’ve got two standard runs: up the Valley to Mt Cougal National Park or down to the beach and along to Coolangatta. That choice is a beautiful dilemma. We settle for the climb the air and scenery are sublime. Breakfast on the deck and discussion about the days chores probably some more shelves to be put up. Do we get a lot done? No, but we get a lot of visitors. Clare and Denis drop in on their bike ride, Chantal also comes by bike to give us something from her garden, Filippa and the kids walk past and stop for a quick chat, Steven and Meredith linger on their way back from a walk – pleasant conversation; lots of laughter.
At the end of the afternoon we go up for a swim in the pool but it’s really a chance to just paddle around and chat with whoever’s there. Then we have dinner on the deck, regardless of the weather. These are times for conversation and moments for reflection. All the doors and windows are open, the breeze blows and we’re secure. As the night falls we are reminded of the dark sky policy for the Ecovillage. Is that the best feature of this wonderful place? It’s got to be close to it. Or is the best feature the size of the allotments, the house designs that evolve from the community management statement or the greenways that will soon be abundant with growth? Or is it the warmth of the community that has developed with friendships developing across the ages, races and backgrounds? With that last thought the choice is easy.
Then, back to the jig saw puzzle! With some warm anticipation I know that tomorrow will be the same.
Living in the ecovillage makes life a lot easier as we have everything we need at our doorstep, and inside our (more) sustainable house. We know almost all our neighbours by their first name and often share seedlings, fruit and celebrations. We virtually no water or electricity bills which is great, but we do pay body corporate fees to ensure our Caretaker can maintain the large property with his crew of tradespeople and gardeners. This includes maintaining the 25 metre long pool which is almost chemical-free. We enjoy the pool, community centre, local climate and being near the beach the most.
The main challenges for the community probably include making good decisions within the tight body corporate structure, allowing everyone to voice an opinion, using multiple communication channels and making quick choices about the many options we have to use all of our resources. The ‘villagehub’ email group system is one way we can communicate more openly and quickly about events, issues, giveaways and parties. We share a lot and yet have as much privacy as we want as well.
We are learning a lot every day about a range of new things we’ve always wanted to experience including growing bananas, creating a family and sharing the occasional meal, all with help from our fantastic neighbours. We even received 14 days of dinners in a row from all our neighbours just for having a baby! The ecovillage is amazing place, that we are probably already starting to take too much for granted.
Heather, Ben, Imogen and Skye