Solar grid plan for village

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter

A retirement village set to bring more than $50 million of investment into the Australind community is powering forward, with the developer’s chief executive revealing plans for an embedded energy grid at the site.

Eden Life chief executive officer William Marshall said the energy grid, powered by a network of solar panels, was aimed at easing the financial burden of utility costs for residents at the planned lifestyle village at Kingston.

“For older Australians on a fixed income, utility payments such as power use can be a real burden,” Mr Marshall said.

“We have worked with a group called Source Energy to design an embedded energy grid whereby we use the large roof spaces available on our clubhouse, workshop and bowling green surrounds to place a large solar system to supply power to all homes using an in-ground network of cables.”

Once the village of 186 planned homes is established, the network will be connected to a single battery capable of supplying about 10 units of power to each home.

“Our previous research has shown us that our homes and residents are likely to use around 8-10 units per day,” Mr Marshall said.

“This is a great saving to our residents.”

Mr Marshall said lifestyle villages like Eden Life were helping provide solutions for older Australians.

“Access to affordable housing for older Australians is a major issue across Australia and in particular, regional and rural areas,” he said.

The 8.3ha development will accommodate about 300 residents and will feature a clubhouse with heated indoor pool, gym, library, bowling green, cinema, hobby shed and community garden.

Stage 1 road and infrastructure works are now complete, with construction of the clubhouse and community facilities well under way.

The first of the display homes for Stage 1 development are scheduled to arrive in January.

Plans for the Eden Life development have been in the works since 2017, but were stalled earlier this year following a State Administrative Tribunal decision relating to a dispute in the City of Armadale.

The dispute related to the definition of a “park home” in the Caravan and Camping Ground Regulations 1997, creating a process Mr Marshall described as “frustrating” and “completely unrelated” to the Eden Life development.

Harvey Shire Council voted to refuse the development at a council meeting in July due to the SAT decision in Armadale, with the developers forced to submit new home designs which complied with the legal definition created by the Armadale ruling.

Mr Marshall said the home designs in the original application have been used in the industry for more than 20 years.

“The new designs imposed provide for additional costly structures to be attached under the home, structures that will never be used,” Mr Marshall said.

“This impost reduced affordability with no benefit provided.”

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