Council has spent $50,000 on the Innovation Estate project in collaboration with Ecovillage co-founder and Landmatters managing director Chris Walton. Walton is also in discussions with Brisbane and Toowoomba regarding similar initiatives.
Councillor Peter Young, chair of Council’s Sustainable City Future committee, says the initiative will help people translate the ‘big picture’ on climate change and other environmental issues into viable actions.
Young says the Gold Coast is again leading the way for the rest of Australia, while developers continue to build houses that ‘aren’t smart to build and are uncomfortable to live in’.
“We can do so much better with the application of simple ideas,” he says.
Walton says the Gold Coast is rapidly becoming the ecologically sustainable development capital of the world.
“With a history of innovation in its high rises, canal systems, sub-divisions and so on, the Gold Coast has the ability to be the most sustainable city in the world, we just need to do it,” he says.
“The development industry is a very dynamic industry and is responding to the market needs and new government regulations that are coming in.”
Walton predicts the housing development industry will soon refocus on sustainable living when the sector begins to show signs of recovery.
“The economic conditions are holding back that opportunity now, however the promotion is here that standard building practises are very unsustainable in the literal meaning of the word, not good for the environment, not good socially and not good economically in the long term,” he says.
With the first two residential components of Currumbin Valley’s Ecovillage sold, the development has realised $30 million of its $50 million potential.
“What we are seeing, and this is right at the cutting edge, is that our buyers are average people, not greenies,” says Walton.
“They are mums and dads, working people and young couples who have bought in here obviously looking for a well designed subdivision but also a quality of life.”
Further collaborations between Landmatters and the Gold Coast City Council include the ‘green your home, green your street’ project, described by Walton as the ‘Backyard Blitz of sustainable living solutions’.
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