Ben O’Callaghan -Tour Guide
On Saturday November 19th a group of our Humaneity Inspired Living – Tiny House team members, and some members from the Brisbane Tiny House Facebook group met at the Currumbin Eco Village on Currumbin Creek Road for a 1.5hr tour of the village.
Our enthusiastic tour guide, Ben O’Callaghan was ready and waiting as the majority of our group arrived under what were very sultry skies on the Gold Coast. Set in a lush tranquil setting, the Eco Village is not one of those places that ‘smacks’ you in the face upon your arrival. It’s meandering layout allows one to gently become accustomed to it’s somewhat mysterious presence.
Ben commenced the tour by providing some specific facts about the development. Originally purchased for $3m the land was eventually developed at a cost of over $40m. Today 144 dwellings sit on a the total acreage throughout various stages of the villages evolution.
We commenced our tour from the front, or main road side of the property, and then walked as a group through to the nearby community centre. What stood out immediately about the village was the design that enables true community interaction. No fences between dwellings, and facilities such as a community pool, gym, community hall where residents can come together and interact.
As Ben explained the planning that has gone into the design has resulted in the village winning numerous awards for its effectiveness and efficiently. BUT, and it is a big BUT, it all comes at a price. Many of the dwellings are over $1m to purchase and the smaller one bedroom plus studio are priced at over $600k. Affordable living it is not.
As a Tiny House group we are interested in how to make sustainable living affordable, and somehow, having a home on a trailer, that is mobile, and off grid seems to be very appealing to an increasing number of people here in Australia and across the world.
We continued our tour, and while it was great to hear about all of the innovative materials and systems that have been used in the village, my personal assessment was, ‘well lots of money can buy anything’.
Yet, if you are looking for some very cool design ideas, and want to adapt those to your own ethos around budget and location, then there is no doubt that the Eco Village will inspire you with many great ideas. Ben’s passion and energy definitely helped to create an atmosphere that mirrored the sustainable environment that our group was walking through.
It was also Ben’s generosity of opening up his own home to show our group through that brought another dimension to this already very personalised tour. Meeting his happy family, who obviously enjoy living in the village brought a real soulful, and intimate feeling to what we were sharing.
The Currumbin Eco Village has developed an environment where the sense of community can be sensed, yet, like in any community, gated or not, it is up to the ‘people’ who live there to decide how much ‘community’ interactive living actually takes place.
Plans for a community garden are underway at the Eco Village, an online shareable network to encourage sharing is well and truly in place, yet there is nothing really that sets it apart from a common neighbourhood in a common suburb where people do come together to do things as a collective.
Fast internet, eco friendly waste management, efficient power sourcing and management are all built in features of the eco village infrastructure. But really, like in any environment it comes down to the individuals, and whether or not they embrace all, or some of the sustainable behaviours that are available to us all.
So in summary I would say this. The Currumbin Eco Village is deservedly an award winning state of the art, expensive sustainable oasis nestled into a beautiful valley on the Gold Coast.
It is, attempting to provide people with a far greater level of sustainable living. I would need to talk to many more of the residents to truly understand how ‘much’ of this sustainable living they actually buy into. In Ben’s case it is his day job, running a consultancy on sustainable living, so there is little wonder that his natural passion may be more obvious than some of his neighbours.
Like this rest of our group, I learnt a lot on the tour, and was very thankful we undertook another opportunity to gain further knowledge on what others are doing, and creating, to live a more sustainable, and ultimately a more happier lifestyle.
To arrange your own tour of the Currumbin Eco Village you can contact Ben at ben.o’firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell Ben , Mark from Humaneity sent you, and you just might end up with a great tour price.