What a crazy few months it’s been navigating the Coronavirus chaos! Like everyone, the Witchcliffe Ecovillage has been impacted by the pandemic fallout, but all things considered, we seem to have weathered the storm relatively well so far.
However, we’ve had to change our sales and marketing schedule several times to adapt to a constantly shifting economic and regulatory landscape. This has made it difficult to provide clear communication to you about our future plans. So, we want to thank you for being patient and sticking with us as we work through these challenges.
After the excitement of signing off on Wormall’s tender to construct Stages 1 – 3 in January and them starting works in mid-February, we had started our Stage 1 sales launch with the announcement in March of eight presentations and site tours to be held over the coming months. The presentations were limited to 26 attendees due to the size of our meeting room and more than 200 people booked within days of them being confirmed. We managed to hold our first scheduled event on March 15 and we had such an enthusiastic response from our 26 attendees that I said to Shelle at the end of the day that it was looking like Stage 1 (64 lots) was going to be sold out by the end of April! Everyone was so impressed with the level of thought and detail we’ve put into ensuring the project is a great success for our future residents and environment, but they were particularly blown away once they got out on site and saw the beauty and scale of the project.
However, within two days of this first presentation, due to COVID-19, we realised with great disappointment that the subsequent presentations were no longer possible and instead offered new registrations for a tour only format. Then, not long after taking tour bookings from 180 people, they too became untenable in the face of mounting restrictions and we consequently had to cancel everything. It was devastating for all of us!
Since that time, we have been buoyed by endless emails and phone calls from supporters who have reinforced our belief that the Ecovillage is just what the world needs right now, and who were still eager to buy a lot in Stage 1. This crisis may, in fact, have reinforced what we have been taking about for many years: our human settlements are not sustainable and robust. They should be designed to be self-sufficient in our essential daily needs, renewable energy, water and fresh food produce and have naturally comfortable and efficient solar passive homes. We need communities where resilience and sustainability are paramount to a life well lived.
The affirmations we received from supporters helped influence our decision to proceed with a soft Stage 1 sales launch in May, as many people wanted to confirm their lot so that they could start planning their new homes. So, we decided to offer those who had registered for our site presentation and tours the first opportunity to confirm a lot. Given we had only held our first presentation, we were blown away by the strong response and I am thrilled to report we now have reservations on 36 lots, which is a more than half of Stage 1 (these reserved lots are indicated by an orange dot on the cluster plans on the website.)
We are so excited to have such a wonderful, caring and enthusiastic group of people confirm their lots in Stage 1 including a first home buyer who’s a very talented natural wine maker from Margaret River, many young families, mid-life couples like Shelle and I, and semi/full retirees. The group have diverse backgrounds ranging from tradespeople, professionals and business owners. Most intend to either work from home, within the Ecovillage or retire to a fulfilling and productive life within a caring and sharing community of like-minded people. They are all eager to start building as soon as they can, so they can move in as soon as possible.
How exciting that after 25 years of dreaming about such a community and 10 years of work to gain all of the necessary statutory approvals to build the Ecovillage, it is finally happening. And meeting all of these wonderful people, our future neighbours and community is by far the most rewarding part to date.
We are now pleased to open up the balance of Stage 1 lot sales to our whole subscriber database, and we will open the balance of lots to the general public in July. If you’re interested in securing one of our remaining Stage 1 lots, or registering for Stages 2 or 3, you can find information about the sales process and site tours in Jo’s marketing and sales update here and on the Sales Process page of our website.
Michelle and I are feeling an enormous sense of relief and excitement (and exhaustion) to finally be at this point in the process. Having people embrace the Ecovillage so wholeheartedly and feeling their enthusiasm and anticipation gives us such joy. We are just as excited as you to build our own home in the Ecovillage and become a resident in this incredible community. I look forward to taking you on a tour of the Ecovillage in the near future.