There are currently 24 houses on the Co-op. Most are built with mudbrick, with some exceptions. There are 8 undeveloped sites.
Houses on the Co-op are intended to blend into the bush, rather than stand out. We want the landscape and vegetation of the natural bush to be the primary visual focus of the property.
One of the important principles of residential conservation is “minimal impact” – to live in the bush with minimal detrimental impact to the site itself and particularly to the surrounding common area of the Co-op.
Consequently, the Co-op has specific expectations regarding site management, which are set out in the lease and in our site standards policy, both of which are aimed at reducing and containing the impact of our living in the bush. These include:
Building design and development
Site containment (This refers to limiting the extent to which the leased site and the surrounding common land is impacted by occupation (building and living) which includes physical and visual impact.)
Fire protection including fuel and vegetation management
Kitchen garden management
Landscape and indigenous planting
There are also rigorous planning and environmental controls in the Bend of Islands and Members must manage their house sites in accordance with these. The Bend of Islands, including the Co-op, falls under the Nillumbik Planning Scheme and is zoned “Special Use Zone 2: Environmental Living - Bend of Islands”.
Building on the Co-op is guided by our established guidelines for building and assistance is provided by the Building Committee. One of the many benefits of being part of an inclusive community with diverse skills is the availability of advice and support from people who have been through the building process themselves.
Recent changes to planning provisions and the Bushfire Overlay impose increasingly stringent requirements for buildings to meet the BAL ratings. Consequently, building a new house on the Co-op may present new challenges and we cannot guarantee the approval of a new buildings.