After three years of planning, research, ruminating and questions, Kelvin Daly and his team are ready to share the vision with everyone.
The Bruns Eco Village is an ambitious plan to establish a living space that encompasses lush rural living, shared communal assets, off-grid power, a working farm, school, aquatic centre, conference/wellness/community centres and a light commercial/industrial area.
It’s on approximately 105 acres which straddle both a north and south aspect, and is close to the Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads roundabout at the highway junction.
Kelvin, who has been in the area for nine years, says he was inspired after watching the cycle of families being ejected to make way for holiday letting.
He says his background is in farming, earthmoving and construction. He’s also a registered hemp grower who grew an industrial fibre crop in 2011 for hemp masonry construction.
‘I grew up in Melbourne and bought a farm and started a family.
‘I wanted to look for solutions that reflect people’s desires to live with a small footprint and without being chained to global banking debt cycles. This is to address speculative housing bubbles while holding the land in perpetuity for the community.’
He says, ‘The Bruns Eco Village approach is an alternative ownership model where you can rent and invest simultaneously.
‘People wanting to live in the co-operative cluster housing model would need to complete the Village Development Program (VDP).’
The VDP is a 14 month training program based on the internationally accredited Gaia Education model, and will be delivered by local educator Shane Sylvanspring.’
‘A school is planned, which will accomodate kindy to year ten, and also aims to provide adult education and workshops.
‘Many people are disillusioned with isolated modern living and are looking for an interdependent lifestyle. They are hungry for community; hungry to live more in harmony with nature and with each other. This model will be a demonstration of how integrated community living can be. The eco-village is open to all and will be an inclusive multicultural, multi-ethnic community.’
What underpins the project, says Kelvin, is ten principles from the internationally accredited One Planet Living model.
‘By using their framework, we aim to live like there is only one planet.’
‘The principles are health and happiness, zero carbon, zero waste, sustainable transport, sustainable materials, sustainable water, local and sustainable food, land use and wildlife, culture and community, equity and local economy.’
Kelvin referred to a similar project in the UK, called Bedzed, which demonstrated a sustainable eco-village with the same ten principles.
‘When participants register their interests, they are asked to fill out a survey that will guide the educational content and also assist with the future planning proposal.
‘We have ten local people who are working hard and are specialists in their field – education, legal, planning, communications/technical, events and finance.
‘We are also in consultation with Enova and COREM to consider the feasibility of a two-megawatt solar farm. The proposed location is south of Gulgan Road.
‘We have already had an overwhelming response from people wanting this to happen, but it’s important we do this right and there are investors who are screaming out for ethical projects to invest in that support fair trade and equity.’
• The website will be up from July 13, he says, which is www.brunsecovillage.com.au.