Construction Update – June 2020
After commencing civil construction of Stage 1 in February 2020, just as details of a global pandemic were emerging, we saw intense activity on site, which continued right through the lockdown.
During this time, we have put about 7km of sewer pipe in the ground and have also laid similar lengths of irrigation, communications and power. We have also put in more than 1km of drainage pipes, which is vastly reduced from a conventional subdivision of the same size, as the majority of our stormwater drainage is captured and conveyed in surface water features designed to mimic nature. This enormous amount of work is now buried below the ground and largely hidden out of site.
One of the challenges we encountered in constructing services was unearthing significant amounts of rock around the site. The sewer trenches in particular required removal of large granite rocks in some places and a hard laterite (ironstone) layer in others. Much of the rock that was excavated has been set aside and will be used for landscaping works.
As well as putting sewer pipes in the ground, we have commenced construction of the wastewater treatment plant in the south of the site with the construction of a large treated water storage lagoon. The earthworks for the lagoon have been completed and will sit through winter to allow any settlement to take place before the plastic liner is installed. This recycled water will be used on the community’s wastewater irrigation zone, used predominantly to grow trees for biomass / mulch.
Roadworks have also progressed and the majority of roads in our first stage have been constructed to gravel road base stage and are now being final trimmed. The Main Roads intersection on Bussell Highway has drainage pipes in the ground and the limestone foundation layer, which sits under the gravel road base has been placed. The intersection works is a few weeks behind program due to our realisation about the extent of clearing. After much negotiation and support from the Shire and local residents, a revised intersection design received support from Main Roads. This has enabled us to retain the majority of the Marri trees in the verge at the main entry to the Ecovillage from Bussell Highway.
We were also delighted to receive support from Main Roads, just last week, to bond the remainder of works on the intersection to enable us to be able to complete the works once the sub-base has dried out later in the year.
A few landscaping works are commencing including mulch deliveries that will be used for stabilising and rehabilitating areas around the drainage swales and basins. We also have two local stonemason contractors on site, Wildwood Stone and Stone Age Constructions. Wildwood Stone are constructing drainage structures and erosion protection works while Stone Age have commenced work on granite walls in the Village Centre.
While we have made excellent progress on the construction works, we still have a lot of work to do including kerbing, path construction, sealing roads, fire tanks, spreading topsoil and trimming the site. With winter rains starting in late May, we are pushing hard to make as much progress as possible while site conditions allow. However, it is likely that the construction season will come to an end in the next few weeks and we will need to return in spring to complete Stages 1 – 3.