In order for residents to share the Witchcliffe Ecovillage’s sustainability infrastructure, community gardens, water resources, and conservation areas, the land has been developed as a group of survey strata schemes under the WA Strata Act, united by their identical strata management statements and their shared ownership of the Ecovillage Commons Company and its land assets.
Land tenure: survey strata lots
The residential component of the Ecovillage is comprised of 11 residential clusters. Each cluster is a separate strata, with an average of 22 homes. The housing lots in each cluster are all individual survey strata lots. This means you will own your survey strata lot for your home (the same as a standard green title home lot in a regular subdivision), but you also own the community garden in common, and associated infrastructure, with the neighbours in your cluster.
A survey strata subdivision allows the occupiers to share land, services and facilities, and to agree to mutually beneficial restrictions. All owners of lots on the survey strata plan are automatically members of the strata company or Body Corporate, which is responsible for maintaining and managing common property and enforcing bylaws.
For those of you unfamiliar with strata development and governance in Western Australia, Landgate provides an excellent overview called “A Guide To Strata Titles”. REIWA also provides a useful article covering the different title options that are available in WA, which you can download here.
What is included in the “common property”?
The three Stage 1 strata schemes, which we have called “community garden clusters,” are comprised of between 19 and 24 residential lots each.
The lots surround approximately 1 ha each of common property, which includes productive community gardens, a meeting house / shed, irrigation tank, electricity microgrid and single point Western power connection, two 3-phase EV chargers, a Tesla Powerpack battery bank, and a shared chook pen for the affordable and cottage lots.
Each survey strata lot also has exclusive use rights in the strata scheme plan to an area of vegetable allotment garden (80-200 sqm) adjacent or nearby to their lot. Each community garden cluster will have an identical management statement, which includes the Ecovillage theme and objectives, as well as bylaws to ensure sustainability outcomes are met into the future.
In addition, all strata body corporates own shares in the Ecovillage Commons Company (ECC), which owns the Ecovillage dams, conservation areas and all additional common land and infrastructure. The ECC is responsible for water allocation, fire management, events management, maintenance of the path network, etc.