Eco-village lots on sale next year

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Lot releases for the long-awaited Witchcliffe Eco-Village are expected early next year.
Camera IconLot releases for the long-awaited Witchcliffe Eco-Village are expected early next year.

The ambitious Witchcliffe Eco-Village project will go live for prospective homebuyers early in the New Year.

The developers of the landmark project which could add 1000 residents to Witchcliffe have battled a number of delays since September 2017 when they confirmed a green light for the eco-village.

But Sustainable Settlements director Mike Hulme this week said final approval for the site’s wastewater treatment facility by WA’s Economic Regulation Authority and the Department of Health meant it was now “full-steam ahead”.

“It’s been an incredible amount of work and a long time coming, and the only hurdle left at this point is acceptable approval of our civils designs by the Augusta-Margaret River Shire, which we hope to have in the next week,” Mr Hulme said.

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“We never anticipated it would take as much time as it has to gain all of the necessary approvals, but pioneering a new project of this scale that is so different to the norm was never going to be easy.

“While the bureaucratic processes have been incredibly difficult to navigate, the team has had to prove every element of the project, which has been a good outcome for residents.”

The developer — backed by the late Stan Perron — first floated the project a decade ago in partnership with the Perron Group.

At the time, the Shire council voiced scepticism about the scale and scope of the green project, but gave it support to see if Mr Hulme’s vision for a world-class eco-village — that could also become a major international tourism attraction — could be achieved.

There were also disputes with neighbours of the former Cape Mentelle-owned vineyard over water access and the scale of the development, though the Witchcliffe Community Association eventually gave the project its support.

This week, Mr Hulme said delays throughout the process had proved good for the eco-village.

“The time it’s taken has also had a positive effect on the eco-village as we’ve made continual improvements over 10 years, particularly in renewable technologies like batteries and micro-grids,” he said.

“We started out with the dream of building a village that was the most sustainable community we could achieve in this day and age — one that would be 100 per cent self-sufficient in renewable energy, water and fresh food produce — and that was also affordable for most people that lived in our region.”

Residential lots at the eco-village have grown to 360 in total, integrated with the Witchcliffe townsite, and will include a new playing field and village square, a creative hub, food production facilities, a cafe, nature playground and small commercial precinct as well as tourist and backpacker accommodation.

The WCA did not respond to Times inquiries.

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