1. What is the 7 Sibley St Sustainable Living Hub Project?
This is a social enterprise project which will:
Promote Affordable and Sustainable Housing by:
- Helping home builders to access every thing they need all in one place to build or modify a sustainable home
- Demonstrating/proving sustainable building design and technologies
- Proving opportunities to share and develop sustainable building and living skills
- Provide access to tools and equipment
Create Jobs by:
- Providing activities and products for visitors to Nimbin
- Providing a marketing platform and showroom for local sustainable enterprises
- Providing opportunities to share and develop skills and industry
- Demonstrating energy efficient building design and technologies and how to live without air conditioners
- Influencing local building to become energy efficient and sustainable
- Demonstrating renewable energy technologies and innovations
Enhance Local Food Security by:
- Providing teaching and learning space and commercial kitchen capacity
- Providing a Local Food Hub in the village
- Expanding the Nimbin Food Equipment library
2. Why the 7 Sibley St project?
Current housing trends are not helping the planet OR people who need affordable places to live.
The idea for a Sustainability Hub emerged from the Sustainable Nimbin Community Planning (SNCP) process.
Sibley St will use a variety of sustainably sourced materials and good design to demonstrate how to make a zero-carbon building.
The old house will be relocated to the front of the site to add to Nimbin’s heritage street frontage, and a new building constructed behind it.
That buildings will showcase old and new technologies and ideas that can be harnessed by everyday people so they too can make their lives more sustainable.
3. So once you have finished the building/s what will happen there?
The plan is for a double storey building.
What that building will be used for is the subject of ongoing community discussions and will be further refined as we go along, but IN A NUTSHELL:
Upstairs will be an affordable local housing resource hub.
Also upstairs will be a local business incubation centre and showroom space for the purpose of marketing local sustainable businesses and products including items produced in the work spaces downstairs.
Downstairs will be small scale production workspaces including the ‘people’s shed,’ and a community kitchen.
4. And in the meantime?…
In the meantime we want to get the old house moved and renovated so we can set up the tools library straight away. We also want to move our Food Equipment Library from Blue Knob to Sibley St to make it accessible to more people.
5. Are my donations tax deductible?
No. Even though Nimbin Neighbourhood and Information Centre is a tax deductible charity, building a sustainable living centre does not come under the Australian Tax Office’s definition of a charitable purpose. (Drats!)
6. What have you done so far?
- We bought the perfect site, with a fabulous Northerly aspect. Right next door to Nimbin Skate Park
- We fundraised over $150,000 to pay off the loan
- We’ve held community forums and a Design-In
- We’ve launched a Master Concept Plan and held a workshop for the community response
- We held workshops with 68 local young people about the project
- We’ve developed the logo and the branding (and we love it)
- We’ve talked a lot with our local Council (and have their in principle support)
- We’ve run building workshops on site
- We’ve painted the house (using enviro paints) to protect the old timbers until we get the $$ to rescue it
- We’ve installed shipping container on site so we can securely store salvaged and collected building materials.
- We’ve got planning and building permission to move the old house
- We’ve started building works
7. Who ARE you people anyway?
We are the Nimbin community and the two project partner organisations: Nimbin Neighbourhood and Information Centre and Nimbin Community Centre. We both have long track records in community development and project management.
The two organisations jointly own the land and the Neighbourhood Centre is primarily responsible for fundraising, developing and implementing the project.
Working behind this project are the staff of these organisations and many, many volunteers who work tirelessly for the community. When we say ‘we’ we also mean all of these people. And the cat.
8. How can I get involved?
You can join one of our working bees, help with promotions and fundraising, or just drop by for a bit of casual gardening.
Right now we have a big patch of cow cane which needs tackling.
To find out more or sign up to become involved, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Why did you keep the old house?
The Seven Sibley St Project has been community driven from the very beginning. The NNIC has been hosting community information and planning sessions since 2012 to help make some of the important decisions.
One of the initial contentions was what were we going to do about the old house. There were strong feelings on both sides as to whether we rescue the old house and renovate it or if we demolish it and start again.
Eventually we put the decision to a vote, everyone in Nimbin was able to attend an planning day where they heard arguments and information from both sides. Those that were interested enough to stay the whole day and get all the information were then asked to vote with their feet.
The vote was to keep the old house and renovate it.
There were some sections of the house that were in such bad disrepair that they needed to be demolished for safety reasons. They were the more recent additions and did not have any heritage value.
While the house itself is not protected by any heritage restrictions, it does represent a traditional building style of the area and the timbers used to build the house are no longer readily available.
The house was successfully moved, renovated and opened to the public on the 1st of December 2018.
10. What was sustainable the Stage 1 renovation?
Upcycling the house is in itself a sustainable option. It pays respect to the original builder & the big old trees that would be gone into building it.
We recycled or repaired what we could and used plantation timbers rather than native forest timbers in the build.
We used environmentally friendly low VOC non-toxic paints. Either RockCote or Eco-paint which is made in Byron Bay.
We improved the cross ventilation by raising the house up and opening the design and adding extra windows and verandahs.
We insulated where we could.
Added window hoods to allow winter sun, but block summer sun.
We salvaged waste, meticulously sorted materials from the demolitions and gleaned and recycled what we could.
All green waste was put into a giant composting system.