Edenlife seniors village to transform iconic Margaret River location on Bussell Highway

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
The lifestyle village developers have pledged to retain as many trees on the site as possible.
Camera IconThe lifestyle village developers have pledged to retain as many trees on the site as possible. Credit: Warren Hately/Augusta-Margaret River Times

A prominent landholding directly south of the Margaret River town site will transform into a lifestyle village, with work slated to start later this year.

The WA Planning Commission last week signed off on the plan adjacent to John Archibald Drive and the Boodjidup Road roundabout that will be led by Edenlife, a subsidiary of Rapids Landing developer Lester Group.

The Edenlife plan includes at least 159 homes for the 11ha site, of which more than a third of the land was slated for conservation or public open space.

When the almost 400-resident project went before Shire of Augusta-Margaret River councillors in August last year, concerns were raised about the scale of clearing required, proximity to the nearby watercourse, and the need for more road connections.

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That debate was sparked by long-running problems in the neighbouring Rapids Landing subdivision where the developers previously claimed they could not afford to build additional exits until future stages were under way, which frustrated residents and commuters to the local primary school.

Those future stages included a contentious retail centre the WAPC previously allowed to be scaled beyond what was originally pitched in public consultation.

WAPC last week supported changes to the village structure plan focused on retaining trees and vegetation, and increasing the distance between the lifestyle village and the roundabout to reduce visual impact.

During public consultation, 16 objections to the proposal were received, some of which noted the size of the lifestyle village was a departure from what was anticipated.

While up to 398 residents could be permitted under the Edenlife plan, the previous Shire report noted conventional housing would allow only 75 lots and about 150 people.

The Edenlife proposal backed by WAPC was “a departure from the strategic planning framework in terms of both the development form and density,” Shire planners said.

However, the lifestyle village was otherwise supported by councillors as a way to address the region’s housing shortage, with the planned village catering to seniors and those older than 50.

Edenlife chief executive William Marshall said a second John Archibald Drive exit further east was not needed for the village which would also have its own embedded energy network.

Edenlife’s site had its own access to John Archibald Drive to the north and planned to retain an historic avenue of trees off Bussell Highway as an emergency exit.

It was that scenic avenue of greatest concern during public consultation.

Mr Marshall previously told the Times the developer was committed to retaining all trees that received an arboriculturist’s tick.

While the project would not include any parks or outdoor facilities, 4ha was planned for foreshore reserve open space.

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