Green plan for WA coastal development

By Adam Coleman

With a combination of estate design and initiatives that will provide the townsite with self-sufficiency in ‘green’ water and power, Landcorp’s planned 140 lot residential development at Gracetown aims to set new standards.

Located on Cowaramup Bay near Margaret River in WA, the development provides a model for future development in coastal towns, Landcorp chief executive, Ross Holt said.

“The proposed initiatives at Gracetown will produce better environmental outcomes, provide savings for the residents in the long-term and turn a town with limited infrastructure into one that has self-sufficiency in water and power,” he said.

Key sustainability features of the development include:
* a climate sensitive design that follows the topography of the land and preserves up to 40 percent of the natural environment within the development area – reducing building envelopes and protecting local biodiversity, while impact on the adjoining National Park will be minimised through the design and management of the project;
* the use of rainwater tanks complemented by an A+ Class treated recycled water system that will enable the reuse of all household water for purposes such as flushing toilets and laundry use;
* the use of the recycled water system will increase the amount of water available for drinking purposes and bring the additional benefits of the removal of septic tanks – improving ground water over time – and better provision of water for fire fighting throughout the townsite;
* the use of Synergy’s ‘Green Power’ or ‘Natural Power’ schemes will be encouraged;
* the use of renewable energy options including individually roof-mounted 1.5kW photovoltaic cells for solar power generation; solar hot water systems; and wind power to operate a new wastewater treatment plant are planned;

Trials of a system to convert offshore wave energy into electricity and produce desalinated freshwater are also being investigated.

Mr Holt said growing industry consciousness about how land is consumed and resources used is an issue being addressed in the planning for the proposed development.

“Globally the building footprint is 4ha per person. In Australia, it is 8ha per person – one of the highest of any societies on Earth," he said.
“In Perth, it is even higher at 9ha per person. Australia is also the world’s highest per capita producer of Greenhouse gases and WA is the highest of any state. These facts are alarming and unsustainable in WA in the long term.
“The combination of smaller lot sizes and design guidelines will ensure the building ‘footprint’ the 14ha site at Gracetown is kept to a minimum."

He said the sustainable water and power servicing options will be made available to the whole of the Gracetown community, not just the proposed new development area.

The design of the residential development also aims to reduce the need for car usage and promotes a pedestrian-oriented community with pathways connecting the new development with the existing townsite and the coastal recreational areas.

“The provision of public spaces within the new development aim to encourage community interaction and help to foster community spirit. While a diversity of housing types aims to encourage more full time residents – in turn providing a more stable economy for local businesses,” Mr Holt said.

Construction of the proposed 140 dwelling residential development is expected to commence in 2009. 

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