From vibrant nightlife to internationally acclaimed sustainability, the Gold Coast has come a long way in sixty years. Now our city’s green thumb is garnering attention interstate and overseas.
If you seem surprised, keep in mind the Gold Coast is actually Australia’s most biologically diverse city. With more than 1,730 recorded species of native plants, Ramsar convention-listed coastal wetlands, world heritage-listed Gondwana rainforests, stunning waterfalls, sand dunes and over 52 kilometres of beaches, it’s only natural the Gold Coast is an iconic destination for those besotted with nature’s beauty.
Fortunately, the city’s ideal environment also captured the attention of former town planner, Kerry Shepherd and former property developer Chris Walton. More than twenty years ago, they both dreamed of creating a sustainable development inspired by the simplicity and natural feel of the Fijian lifestyle.
“It needed to be a strong community with good green values, be affordable, have surf and the right climate,” says Kerry.
Fast forward 29 years later and the Eco-Village is now one of Australia’s most awarded developments practicing sustainability every day.
The 110-hectare site is filled with veggie gardens, chook sheds and an abundance of wildlife including wandering kangaroos and 160 bird species. All homes feature passive solar heating and many are built from recycled materials. Residents also have plenty of room to enjoy the outdoors with 80 percent of the site open space.
This unique development reflects how much the Gold Coast embraces sustainability today and was a perfect fit to be featured in Channel Nine’s program, Sea Changing: 60 Years of the Gold Coast. Viewers had a sneak peek into the day-to-day life of an eco-friendly family like the Mourad’s.
Allen Mourad explains why he and his family made the move.
“For me, it ticks all the boxes for us to raise a family in a safe environment where our kids can sort of free-range around the village. It’s really like the classical suburb I grew up in. I could bike anywhere, feel pretty safe and protected.”
The Mourad’s also enjoy the strong relationships developed with neighbours from swapping home-grown fruit and vegetables.
“We’ve got people around us now we can call upon if needed or chat with over a glass of wine.”
They also haven’t had to pay an energy bill in three years which makes their life a little bit easier.
The Eco-village has won more than 30 national and international awards in the past 12 years, but winning the 2008 FIABCI Prix d’Excellence global award for sustainable development from the International Real Estate and Developer Federation in Amsterdam was a very proud moment for the Gold Coast. Why? It put the city on the map as a destination for sustainability and soul.