What changes are you making to your sales process to cope with the Coronavirus crisis?

It is with great disappointment that we have decided to cancel all Pre-Sales Presentations planned for March, April and May, which were to be held in close quarters indoors, following health advice to limit social gatherings in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. >>Read more below.

Sales Information

What changes are you making to your sales process to cope with the Coronavirus crisis?

It is with great disappointment that we have decided to cancel all Pre-Sales Presentations planned for March, April and May, which were to be held in close quarters indoors, following health advice to limit social gatherings in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

We are now busy preparing an alternative digital solution, including a comprehensive series of videos that we will post on our website ASAP. These will provide you with all the information about the Ecovillage you would have received at the live presentation here at the office. Of course, it’s not ideal, but it’s the safest and most responsible course of action we can take at the moment.

While we wish to heed social distancing advice, we would still like to offer prospective buyers the opportunity to join us on a small group (max. 26 people) guided walking tour of the Ecovillage in the fresh, open air. 

These site tours are entirely optional and will not impact our sales schedule. They will be held every second weekend on both Saturday and Sunday commencing in April.

Email invitations to register for Site Tours have been sent to prospective buyers on our database first (those who have registered their interest on our website) and will be made available to the public (published on our Events Calendar) at the end of April.

How do I register for an Ecovillage Pre-Sales Site Tour?

Due to the advent of the Coronavirus, we have had to significantly alter our sales process and have now cancelled previously advertised Pre-Sales Presentations and Tours, which were to be held in close quarters indoors. While we wish to heed social distancing advice, we would still like to offer prospective buyers the opportunity to join us on a small group (max. 20 people) guided walking tour of the Ecovillage in the fresh, open air.

We will continue to offer site tours for as long as we have demand and it is safe to do so. Walking site tours will be weather dependent and will exclude the Stage 1 construction.

The Pre-Sales Site Tours for prospective buyers on our database (people who have registered their interest on our website) will commence on Saturday, 11 April. Email invitations have been sent to our database who will receive priority access to both Site Tours and Stage 1 lot sales (the latter will commence in late April.) We will open sales for the balance of unsold lots in Stage 1 to the general public in late May – June 2020.

What information will be in the videos that will replace the presentations?

We are working hard to create a comprehensive, high quality series of video presentations that are informative and inspiring. They will contain all the information you would have received at the live presentations and more. We will be splitting them up into separate videos for key theme areas such as Building, Energy and Land Ownership for easier consumption.

We hope to have these ready to publish by the end of March 2020 but will let you know as soon as they are available.

When will Stage 1 lots be released for sale?

We are commencing sales of Stage 1 in a stepped approach. Prospective buyers on our database (people who have registered their interest on our website) will receive priority access to both Pre-Sales Site Tours and lot sales, which will commence in late April 2020. We will then open sales for the balance of unsold lots in Stage 1 to the general public in late May – June 2020.

How much do lots in Stage 1 cost?

We released Stage 1 lot prices in February 2020 with this announcement, which included detailed information about the sustainability features that are included with each Family, Cottage and Groupie lot available in Stage 1.

You can download cluster plans for 1A, 1B and 1C with lot prices on the Lot Types and Pricing page.

There are 11 different lot types varying considerably in size, scope, use and price. We will release more information about subsequent lot types as we progress through the project.

Can I visit the Ecovillage site?

The short answer is no. We have started civil construction on Stage 1 and the site is now under the management of our civil contractor Wormall Civil. Strict safety protocols are now in place and no-one is allowed on site without appropriate clearances and safety PPE. 

If you wish to visit the Witchcliffe Ecovillage (Sustainable Settlements) office, we request you ring ahead and request an appointment. That said however, we are not able to conduct one-on-one informational meetings at the moment as we are extremely busy with our sales and marketing launch, which includes Site Tours of the Ecovillage. We recommend you register your interest on our website to join our mailing list which will give you priority access to these and to Stage 1 lot sales when they start in April 2020.

How will the staging of the Ecovillage proceed?

We have mapped out a draft staging plan for construction of the Ecovillage but it will be subject to change according to the rate of sales and market conditions. 

However, due to strong demand in Stage 1, we plan to roll into civil works of Stages 2 and 3 as soon as weather permits in spring 2020, and sales will follow suit.

In the future, can I sell my Ecovillage home to anyone?

Yes. There is no membership or vetting process for buying in the Ecovillage, only an assumption of shared values and sustainability principles. We hope to see the development of a diverse community of like-minded, caring people.

What is the land tenure and governance structure for the Ecovillage?

The Witchcliffe Ecovillage has been designed as a survey strata development. All lots will have survey strata titles, and all lot owners will own a percentage of the common land and infrastructure. Visit the Land Ownership page for more information.

Will you still be having an Open Day?

No, we cancelled the Open Day that was originally designed to launch the project as an informational event for prospective residents prior to the start of sales. We decided it was not the most effective format to launch the project due to the overwhelmingly large number of people who we anticipated would attend.

However, we have replaced it with a series of small group site tours, which will be more manageable and intimate, and enable us to offer better service to our prospective buyers. We will also be rolling out a series of videos on our website, which will replace the presentations we had to cancel due to the Coronavirus.

We will definitely have a launch party though and are imagining a wonderful celebration later in 2020 in the newly minted Village Square.

Lot Types & Uses

Can I buy an agricultural lot?

We envisage the agricultural lots will be used for high value, small scale commercial horticulture crops. They will be available for purchase in Stage 2 to Ecovillage residents only, with the potential of leasehold arrangements with the developer during Stage 1. If you are interested in becoming one of the Witchcliffe Ecovillage’s organic farmers, please contact us on [email protected]

In future, agricultural lots owned by Ecovillage residents will be able to be sold separately to non-Ecovillage residents. 

Building

How important are the Sustainable Building Design Guidelines (BDGs)?

The purpose of the Witchcliffe Ecovillage Sustainable Building Design Guidelines (BDGs) is to ensure that the built form and landscaping of the Ecovillage reflects the strong vision of sustainability and the rural village character set for the development. They provide straightforward guidelines that apply to all residential buildings in the Ecovillage. They will help owners, designers and builders create aesthetically harmonious buildings that are solar passive, efficient, affordable, and comfortable to live and work in.

Can I design and build my own home?

Yes. New owners can choose to design and build their own homes, as owner builders or with a licensed builder. House designs will need to conform to the Witchcliffe Ecovillage Building Design Guidelines, which are in draft form on the Document Library.

We will also offer a range of sustainable house designs for a variety of lot types. These house plans are currently being designed in concert with the drafting of the Building Design Guidelines. 

How do the House & Land Packages work?

We are forming a guild of local builders each of whom we have asked to create three house designs for the Groupie, Cottage and Family lots in readiness for Stage 1. Importantly, these builders have been fully briefed on the Ecovillage Sustainability Building Design Guidelines (BDGs) and all house designs will conform to these mandatory requirements.

The Ecovillage house designs will also be fully costed and all inclusive prices for a complete Ecovillage home, making it a super easy, affordable and sustainable option for future residents. This includes everything from rainwater tanks to carports as well as a complete Ecovillage energy package (solar PVs, inverter, smart meter and heat pump.)

We hope to finalise these designs and prices in April-May 2020 after which we will display them on our website. Please note that House & Land Packages comprise two separate contracts: one with the developers for the sale of the lot and one with the builder for the house build.

Alternatively, owners can design and build their own home using their own architect or designer as long as it meets the sustainability requirements outlined in the BDGs.

Will we be required to build within a certain timeframe?

Yes. There’s nothing worse than buying and building in a master planned community like this and having vacant lots next door forever and living in a never-ending construction site. 

All lot purchasers will be required to start building their home within 18 months of settlement (approximately March 2022 for Stage 1 buyers).

Can I build an ancillary dwelling on my lot?

All Lifestyle, Family and Cottage lots are zoned to allow residents to build an ancillary dwelling (granny flat) for personal use. However, it must be noted that these ancillary dwellings cannot be used for short stay accommodation, such as through Airbnb, as per current AMR Shire planning regulations.

What are the lot dimensions?

You can find individual lot dimensions on the Stage 1 community garden cluster plans, which you can download here. However, in general, most fit within the following scope:

Family: 20m x 50m

Cottage: 15m x 30m

Groupie: 12m x 30m 

Lifestyle: 28m x 57m

Mixed Use: 8m x 41m

Are there building envelopes or restrictions as to where I can build on my lot?

To ensure optimum solar gain for every lot, regardless of size, we have included building setbacks on the north of every lot. Substantial rainwater tanks are needed for every dwelling and the footprint size of these, which relate directly to the roof size and occupancy, must be factored into lot design.

Hence for the smaller lots, such as the Groupies, we need to be more prescriptive as to where the major structures are placed. However, on the Family lots where there is more space, rainwater tanks may be allowed on the community garden boundary, for example.

This information and more is outlined in the Local Development Plans, which are currently being drafted in concert with the Building Design Guidelines. 

Community

How will the sustainability values and objectives be maintained over time?

Sustainable Settlements (the developer) will provide residents with a suite of documents, including the Building Design Guidelines, Strata By-Laws and Community Garden Handbook, that enshrine our sustainability principles. They will offer practical advice on everything from building materials to garden pest control, do’s and don’ts, resources and recommend governance frameworks, such as conflict resolution and communication tools.

Ultimately, it will be up to the community as a whole to work together in a way that honours the shared values of sustainability that brought it together in the first place.

How will you prevent conflict in the strata clusters?

The clusters will become micro-communities within the larger Ecovillage community and will govern themselves according to the Strata By-Laws, which enshrine our sustainability principles and provide practical guidance on matters such as committee organisation, conflict resolution and communication. We hope that as a socially diverse community of cooperative, caring and like-minded people, we will be able to work through issues demonstrating respect and tolerance.

Can I have a pet in the Witchcliffe Ecovillage?

In time, we hope the whole Witchcliffe Ecovillage will become a safe haven for many local wildlife species, like endangered Western ringtail possums and Baudin’s white tailed black cockatoos, already visitors in our remnant bushland. In order to protect the wildlife in the Ecovillage open spaces and conservation zones, we have made the difficult decision to exclude cats from the Ecovillage, and we will also include requirements in the Ecovillage strata bylaws to ensure that dogs are kept contained within private yards during the day, are on leads in communal areas, and are inside houses at night. Residents will have the added benefit of knowing that they’re not going to be bothered by neighbours’ barking dogs at night time. Chickens and ducks will be allowed to be kept by residents in appropriate housing on their private blocks and, it is expected, they will also be integrated into the community gardens.