89 Millar Rd
Wellard WA 6170
Developer Led + Resident Led Development
Legal Structure: Developer
Project Status: Cancelled
Green Fabric Professionals Involved
Green Fabric endorses projects that demonstrate, or are currently in the process of demonstrating, sustainable community building & living in their Social Fabric; by providing opportunities for community to be involved during the project as well as after the project is completed, and in their Built Fabric; by achieving a minimum &/or average energy rating of 8+ stars with Life Cycle Design Analysis showing a saving in carbon emissions of at least 70% &/or accredited Sustainability Certification.
On an 82-acre run down block, the vision was to design & implement a comprehensive whole farm plan aiming to blend the best of land-care & permaculture principles with state of the art sustainable productive & community landscaping principles; enhancing the potential of the existing riding school & associated grazing & bushland areas.
This land was originally Banksia woodland, growing on B1 Bassendean sand, Perth’s poorest quality sandy soil (officially declared the most unproductive soil on the planet by the FAO**). Once it was cleared, in the 1930s, it quickly began to degrade having little or no traditional agriculture value from that point on.
From 1989 to 2002, 30,000 trees & shrubs were planted, 3 hectares of perennially pasture was established & 5 hectares of remnant vegetation (bushland that hasn’t been cleared) was retained, fenced off & treasured. The riding school thrived & accommodated residential riding camps & all facilities to support it.
In 1992 the design of the ecovillage began in earnest with final approval coming in 2003. This process was lengthy due to the Planning Departments struggle with approving a proposed concept that had never been done before. They required constant justification that this style of development could accommodate residents & the land; economically, socially & environmentally.
The premise of the ecovillage was to reverse the traditional idea of flattening peri-urban land with all its inherent ecological, social & environmental attributes to make way for banal R15 urban sub division & create community.
70 homes were envisaged, among this undulating farm scape, in 6 discrete clusters to create a community that could build, nurture & support the existing Riding School, a conservation category wetland & highly productive grazing & cropping lands.
Ultimately the project was never realised due to: the age of the owners & their need to retire combined & the fact that developers were shy of the project, which as for three main reasons:
- they were risk averse as this had not been tried before
- the project consisted of 65% public open space (POS) not the standard 10%. They couldn’t understand why so much land would be used for POS and no for housing. Interestingly it was argued then (& is still believed now) that the overall return on investment would be similar as a premium could be attracted for the lot prices: less lots but more return per lot!
- they felt more land was needed to make it work & at the time services were just too far away!
Fast forward to 2019 & would this project get off the ground in these more ‘developed’ & accepting times?
This project did pave the way for framework changes in planning, utilising a special land use zone (community cluster rural settlement), for similar styles of land use in these peri urban* areas.
* Peri urban land is land on the urban fringe, traditionally rural or vacant land, often in limbo before it gets swamped with housing.
** Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
Wellard WA 6170
Common Spaces/facilities & Services
Level 1 – family private garden space
Level 2 – each cluster of 6-8 homes, facing onto shared common space – via back fence gate.
Level 3 – larger common space available for all homes as well as with members of the public; riding school, wetlands, pasture areas, food forest & nature play gardens.
Visitor Bays: 11+
Home clusters designed to be located on the degraded land as it is perfect for housing because:
1. no bushland to be lost
2. sand is easy to move so minimises expensive earth works for foundations of dwellings.
3. dwelling sitting on dunes are above ‘1 in 100 year flood level’ as well as providing fantastic views looking out over farm land.
4. undulating sandy dunes have excellent ground water separation quality between nutrient sources & ground water.
At A Glance
|Kind Of Build:||New Build|
|Looking for Residents:||No – Type of Residents:|
|Number of Dwellings:||Proposed: 70 / Available: 0|
|Form of ownership:||To Own|