Saturday, September 26, 2009

Renaming "Living Villages"

After much consideration it has been decided to renew the former name of the project as LIVING VILLAGES NETWORK, rather than Base Camps Conservation Network. Base Camps can be regarded as the overall association of locations.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Reassessing Community Location

It is now over six months since I moved to Aratula with the intention to get a community of like minded people happening here.

The location is quite ideal. In the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, so the landscape is picturesque and good soil, climate and ample water available. Opposite shops in a small town and 15 kms from Boonah. Just 80kms from Brisbane.

The caravan park has power, town water and sewage, a dam and a seasonal creek with a large catchment the water of which can be channeled into the dam, plus a bore. There are 26 caravans and 32 powered sites, five motel rooms and a cottage that can sleep 6-8 people. At present it can easily accommodate 50 to 70 persons.

Upon finalizing a five year lease (at $2000 per week), with the option to purchase on the caravan park for about 50 residents @ $100 to $130 per week, we will gross over $5000 to $6500 a week.

The managers residence will be converted into the Common House. The bedrooms can be used for an office, computer room and a health clinic. As well there will be plenty of space for dining, lounging and entertainment.

Once we are up and running with say fifty members in residence, we can negotiate the lease with option to purchase the adjoining 40acs for additional accommodation.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Progressing the Dream

Just realized that it is some months since any activity on this site. I have been very busy with other aspects and research. Am seeing a solicitor this Friday at Mullumbimby to commence setting up the Trust and to register the Cooperative.

Also have been working with a steel building maker to start fabricating some panels for the prototype of an eight sided house.

Lots of things are happening around Aratula. Negotiating to lease 16 hectares of adjoining land.

Discussing with Land Care, Bush Heritage and Wilderness Society, also the Main Range National Park and the EPA regarding volunteer conservation work.

Trying to organise a tree planting project for Planet Ark in August.

So many things are going on. Oh yes, we have placed some small advertisements for members in Grass Roots and some other mags. Its all go now.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Commencing Base Camps ARATULA

At last the opportunity to get Base Camps started has arisen. I have moved to Aratula, a small town between Brisbane and Warwick in S.E.Queensland.

Just over an hour to Brisbane and also to the Gold Coast, it is on the Cunningham Highway on the edge of the Scenic Rim Regional Area, which is administered from Beaudesert 50km. Nearest town is Boonah 12km and the closest major city is Ipswich 50km to the east.

The highway runs east west through the town with truck stops at either end. A small caravan park runs along the south side of the town. On the north side of the highway are a few shops. A Bakery, Fruit and Vegetable Shop, some Cafes, an Ice Cream Shop and Antique Shops. About 400 metres to the west of the Caravan park is a small Tavern and Motel. The total population of the town is around 200 people. The surrounding area is mainly large scale vegetable growing, horse studs and cattle farms. About 10 kms to the west, the BNT Bicentennial National Walking Trail crosses the Cunningham Hwy. Situated on the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range 15km. Topography is flat to undulating with nearby hills and spectacular peaks. Nearby is Lake Moogerah, a large body of water (usually) that is popular for water sports.

Living at Aratula Caravan Park will enable me to work full time to administer this blog and communicate with prospective Co-creators interested to make the Base Camps model a reality. There are various accommodation possibilities with 35 Powered sites, Caravans and five Motel rooms and Tent Camping. The nearby Tavern has five or six motel rooms. The tarifs are all budget to moderate. We could accommodate about 75 people with out too much difficulty and at minimal expense.

This is an ideal opportunity to get established without having to invest any money, as the owners of the park are very enthusiastic to welcome us as permanent residents, rather than relying on passing traffic. There is adjoining land which could possibly be leased as additional recreation and camping, as well as vegetable growing and a tree and plant nursery etc.

Casual and seasonal work is available on the vegetable farms, who usually rely on Back Packers during the harvest period Aug to November.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Brief Outline


Caring for the environment and each other.

    Our purpose is to establish a network of Conservationist's Parks around Australia, based on Mobile Home and Caravan Park legislation. It is a hybrid of Cohousing, Ecovillages, Woofing, Cooperatives, Meditation Retreat, Spa Resort and Caravan Park. We place emphasis on flora and fauna conservation, bush regeneration, sustainability and the practice of Permaculture and stewardship of the land and importantly on members caring for each other.

     A member controlled Not for Profit Foundation will hold in trust all land and improvements. It is anticipated that all residents volunteer their energy for a few hours a day (as appropriate to their ability) for the planning, construction and operation, by joining an activity they are passionate about and beneficial to the community. Activities could range from gardening, livestock, cooking, massage and other healing modalities, as well as music, theatre arts and drama or craft work. By members combining their creative skills, many small enterprises will flourish. It is not to be confused with any kind of retirement village. It's really a Living Village.

    We plan to offer our services to environmental organizations such as the Wildlife Conservancy, Bush Heritage, Wilderness Society, Land Care and others. We can provide teams of volunteers to plant trees and do bush regeneration or contract with Councils and farmers, as well as the remediation of former mining sites, in exchange for the right to establish our Base Camps locations on site.

     An on-line Participatory Decision Making Process allows all members an equal voice in planning and governance. It is designed to avoid conflicts typical of other communities that have elected hierarchies and committees. 

    Branches of Sustainability Research Institute of Byron Bay will be established at many Base Camps locations, to carry out scientific research on various environmental projects. Also to monitor drinking water and effluent treatment etc.

    To reduce the carbon footprint, a car pool of about 30 vehicles will be available for the members to hire at a nominal cost, rather than each resident having to own a private car. Vehicles may only have occasional access to residential areas for delivery or emergencies, by straddling the network of bicycle and walking paths.

    Our modal provides affordable accommodation and a healthy abundant lifestyle for people living on (in particular but not exclusively) a limited fixed income such as savings or Centrelink Pensions and Benefits. It actually reverses the usual flow of rental payments away from the coffers of real estate agents or land lords and accumulates these funds to be held in trust by the Not for Profit Foundation, for the mutual welfare of the environment and the members.

    Our demographic research indicates that to be economically and socially viable, each Base Camps location should have at least 100 residents maximizing at 500, but averaging at 300. Clusters of from 10 up to 30 residents can share a common house for meals and socializing, spaced around the property affording various styles of accommodation and lifestyles according to the democratic decision of the cluster residents. Residents may easily relocate to different clusters or other future locations, without penalty or restriction, upon adequate notice. 

    Security of tenure for the life of the members is guaranteed. Membership to be intergenerational and disability friendly, with the opportunity for residents to mutually care for each other and "age in place with dignity"among friends, to reduce the need to employ costly outside nursing staff. Storage units will be available for members' excess belongings.

     Locations on or adjacent to the Bicentennial Walking Trail (BNT), (which runs 5330 kms up the eastern ranges from Victoria to Cooktown), as well as good road access and adequate water resources, will be prime selection criteria.

    Base Camps locations will become destinations in themselves, as each one develops a unique character co-created by the residents' diverse backgrounds, skills, volunteered energy and the specifics of the location. Central to the residential clusters will be a large dome or other structure available to hold gatherings of say 500 people. Surrounding this may be cafes, shops, administration, library, gym etc. A short term caravan park will be available for travelers, guests and students.

      To commence quickly without having a long wait for councils to approve D.A's. etc we will lease or purchase an existing caravan park. Accommodation initially, to be in caravans and mobile homes, super tents etc. Eventually, these will be replaced with self contained council approved cabins and units, built by the members wherever possible. Solar heating/cooling and power generation included. 

    Members' joining fee is currently set at $5000, with weekly rent of $100 to cover accommodation and share of food produced by the members. With 300 residents at each location, assuming the average time in our network per resident of 10 years, we can expect each location will accumulate more than $16 million and should 20 locations develop, we can predict the total accumulated capital invested to be in excess of $300 million. Not a bad effort for a bunch of pensioners, without seeking government grants or other assistance. These may also be investigated later.

Expressions of interest to become co-creators or other information? 

Please contact: John Waters (Co-Creator)

Mob: 0409 646 993   Snail: P.O. Box 214 Chevron Island Q 4217

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