In a lush valley bordered by Strickland State Forest, a group of passionate individuals are starting to build their own little township.
Narara Ecovillage are a Central Coast organisation who aim to create a thriving diverse community of 300 plus people of all age groups.
The first project of its kind on the Central Coast, the group are selling plots of land to members.
An ecovillage is a traditional or intentional community with the goal of becoming more socially, culturally, economically, and ecologically sustainable.
A trend gaining momentum worldwide, if you have ever aspired to buy into this type of lifestyle, this could be your dream property.
“This is such a niche project — so many people Google it. One of the most exciting things about this is that people come to us,” Narara Ecovillage founder Lyndall Parris said.
The Narara land was originally acquired by 25 founding members, who purchased the old Gosford Horticultural site in 2012 for $5 million.
With over 50 existing structures and buildings on the 63ha site, to become part of the ecovillage, members will need to pay an initial $30,000 share into the Co-op.
Effectively like a deposit on a lot, the fee will also give shared ownership of all the land beyond lot boundaries, including greenhouses, outbuilding and workshops that are perfect for food production and cottage industries.
Narara Ecovillage are now selling plots of land in three stages, with stage one, which consists of 42 lots and 18 ‘cluster’ units, all sold bar a two bedroom $480,000 lot and three one bedroom units in the cluster development, which range from $395,000 – $430,000.
To get a membership, buyers need to have the intention to build a house on a lot and they also agree to do 52 hours work per year to help the Co-op.
A lengthy and educational sign up process is required to join.
“It can take a good few months, and some people take a few years to decide. We encourage people to think deeply about why they want in,” Ms Parris said.
The ecovillage use a Governance process called Sociocracy for its members, which is a model that allows everyone to be heard on group decisions.
“An amazing thing about our Co-op is that for the buy-in fee, members are given a huge amount of input and can benefit greatly from part ownership in the property. Normal strata fees for unit blocks don’t give you a lot — maybe a clothesline, a swimming pool. Here we have incredible joint assets,” Ms Parris said.
Another benefit for members is shared use of a smart grid that will collect and manage electricity distribution for the village.
The development received close to $1.2 million from the Federal Government in 2017, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), to help fund the innovative Smart Grid.
Ms Parris said that the project, which she has given her heart to for over ten years, initially appealed to her for the community aspect.
“These days people pull up into their garage, go inside and won’t even speak to their neighbours — but this village is designed so that you interact with the people living in close proximity,” she said.
“There is always the option to shut your door if you want privacy. But we can use our intuition, and having support from a close-knit community is proven to be beneficial for wellbeing.
“It’s important to note that each space is entirely yours — we’re not a commune. There is this balance of public and private that we work hard to maintain.
“The big picture dream for us is that the village will be fully subscribed and full of dynamic members. We plan on setting up meeting points for people and a cafe. We also want to be a pioneer for other eco villages around the world.
“There are so many ideas that haven’t even been dreamt up yet — if you fill the cauldron, it happens.”
The master plan for stage two sales has now been done up, with 18 members already on the list to say that they want a block.
The next monthly open day will take place on Saturday, 23 February at the Narara Ecovillage. To register interest click here or email email@example.com