3. Community Engagement Process Outcomes

The Outcomes of our 7 Sibley St Forum with the Nimbin Community.

Forum Context

The 7 Sibley St site has been purchased in the name of Nimbin Community Centre. This is for administration reasons and to allow for potentially re-acquiring the adjoining former sk8 park site, etc.

The Fundraising target for the outstanding amount of loan funds is now about $100,000

The forum began with information from the Sustainable Nimbin Community Plan

Jane briefly summarised the project as identified by the Housing and the Built Environment focus group at the June 2011 Forum: a repository of tools and resources for hand built housing, a registry to enable the development new intentional and sharing communities (and affordable housing options), a building which demonstrates/showcases alternate and sustainable building technologies and practices.

Guy summarised the relevant goals of the Food Security focus group from the June 2011 Forum: a commercial licensed kitchen to enable medium scale food production (i.e. where the wholesale business is greater than 50%, the need for a marketing platform, house the equipment library and showcase centre.

Nat summarised the relevant goals of the Energy focus group in 2011: a demonstration site which for high energy efficient building design and also retrofit-able technologies which improve energy efficiency.

Nat also summarised the other relevant Key Focus areas and goals relevant to the project, in particular:

Jobs and Skills – a place to share skills and market initiatives so as to create economic and employment outcomes, provide appropriate tourism opportunities, promote Nimbin’s sustainability initiatives, develop local training capacity, develop knowledge-based industries.

Health and Well Being – promote community participation in recreational activities, restore and develop recreational facilities.

The Natural Environment – a place to share skills and grow community awareness.

Arts and Culture – public art


The Existing Building

Issues include: safety and security issues, the building has significant history – being moved to the site by bullocks over 100 years ago, reportedly lined with Brown Beech – now rare in the area, the need to examine sustainable options for use of the building.

Only the middle section of the house is the original historical and possibly brown beech-lined section.

OUTCOME: There was agreement that the range of options needs to be scoped in more detail as what may be involved and costs, before the community can make an informed decision. NNIC and NCCI to develop a scoping document specifically in relation to the existing building to facilitate a more informed community discussion and decision.

In the meantime the majority felt that the site should be secured until the community determines the best outcomes for the building.

It was pointed out that if the decision is made to sell or relocate the building, repairs or renovations to it prior to doing so would not be a wasted effort.

Options for Consideration

(a) Renovate and rent it out (presently can only be residential – est. cost is at least $15,000)

(b) Sell the building – either by tender for removal or sale

• Call for tenders

• Relocate to Mulgum House

• Preferably remains in the village

(c) Relocate the building on the site at 7 Sibley St – e.g. raise it, move to the front or back of the block, for use as:

• Shop front/showroom

• Retro-fit technologies demonstration building

• An example of an UNsustainable house!

• Caretaker’s residence

(d) Demolish and recycle into new building/s

(e) Leave it where it is and integrate into new building

(f) Advantages of the ‘clean slate’ option (i.e. do we need a clean site to do the project effectively?)

(g) Permaculture principle of “start by using what you have”.



The first priority is to pay down the remaining $100,000 loan funds.

NNIC will be applying for funds for the project itself, once the loan is paid down. Funding will be difficult to attract until the site is fully secured and paid off.

It will be up to the community to raise the loan funds.

Fundraising done to date: Hook Ups/Facebook appeal, bank account set up, details on NNIC website, published in the June NGT, story in last week’s NR Echo, two community letterbox mail-outs. Around $40,000 raised to date. Donations have slowed since we secured the site.

To raise $100,000 we need 100 people at $1000 or 200 people at $500 and so on.

In-person appeals, face to face or telephone is more effective than on-line.

OUTCOME: a Fundraising Working Group established:

Jane Mari

Sue Stock

Cat Anderson

Thomas Rose


Teena Kavasilas

Gail Clarke

Dean Huff


Meeting at: Nimbin Monthly markets

First meeting: Sunday 17th June at 11.30 at the Rainbow Seats at the markets.

To join the group email NNIC on admin@nnic.org.au

Fundraising Ideas:


OUTCOME: The following people agreed to chase up their communities:

Avalon – Guy

Moondani – Maire

Tuntable School – Thomas

Tuntable Falls Coop – is already considering contributing Dharmananda – Thomas

Blue Springs – Vale

Lillifield – Stephen

The Billen – Anna

Jarlumbah – Peah

Moondani – Maire

Sphinx Rock – Michael Blue Knob Farmers Market – Jenny Djanbung Gardens – Caroline NR Greens – Sue Stock Rainbow Lane – Stephen

Other Ideas

• Grow a food crop on the land

• Sell sponsorships (probably more relevant to the actual project than the loan repayment)

• Set up a 7 Sibley St facebook page – Venessa

• Make 7 Sibley St the monthly charity at the Nimbin markets

• Nimbin Biggest Ever raffle – each $20 contribution towards the payment = one entry. Draw in December 2012. Need some attractive prizes.

• Monthly or annual gig/dance – e.g. Uki example

• Develop a logo/banner/t-shirts/stickers to promote the project

• Artists impression, model or signage at 7 Sibley St – e.g. Elspeth’s example

• Link to Aquarius 40th anniversary in 2013 – Commemorative calendar will be going to print in Aug-Sept 2012 – Katie Cawcutt

• “Crowd Funding” websites

• Target visitors to Nimbin via tourist buses and Sat morning street stalls

• Put a fundraising “barometer” on the house – Elspeth is working on this

• Put a fundraising barometer on NNIC and Nimbin Community websites – Nat will look into this • Arts extravaganza – entry fee, buy artwork, meals, drink

• Bin Your Butts fundraiser – at shops

• Saturday AM Weekly talks at the Blue Knob Farmers Market – hold a talk

• Regular stalls at Blue Knob Farmers market – Guy/Nat

• Industrial HEMP building workshop as a fundraiser

• Contact Grand Designs Australia

Project Scope and Design

4.1 Design/development Criteria

Need to develop set of criteria to inform the design and planning.

4.1.1 Principles of Sustainable Development:

Firstly, we need to be guided by the accepted principles of sustainability.

4.1.2 Design Imperative / Criteria include:

Locally available materials

Local labour and skills

Recycled materials

Renewable materials

Closed systems re waste and Water etc

Passive solar design

Use of thermal mass

Natural light optimisation

Use of cross ventilation and natural air flows

Cost effective – no point building a demonstration site that no one can replicate due to the cost being prohibitive

Modular/staged design

Generates its own energy

On site water storage

Scope for ongoing experimentation and development – adaptation

Meets the functional requirements of the community

What do we want/need there?

There is no point creating community building/s which we don’t need or won’t use.

Ideas included:

• Central repository of information about alternate building techniques and technologies;

• Central repository of information about building regulations.

• Central register for people seeking to invest in new land sharing communities and affordable housing options.

• Commercial kitchen – needs more scoping around the model and specific needs

• Shop front/showroom

• Workshop/tools area

• Indoor teaching/learning space – skills transfer and educational capacity

• Exhibition space

• Tourist attraction – things for tourists to do, see and purchase

• Sk8 and Bike DIY repair shop

• Space for young people

• Various technologies demonstrated on site

• Exhibit of local hand built houses

• Exhibit Life on the MOs

• Relocate current exhibit in Community Centre hallway

• Kitchen/herb gardens

• Landscaping

• Aquaculture

• Giant parabolic solar dish to e.g. power the kitchen, heating

• Media/movie room

• Compost/biogas digester toilet system

• Nimbin Sustainability Think tank – to work on emerging ideas and technologies e.g. biogas

Management Models

We need to look at options for the management of the site once it has been developed into the Sustainability House. Egg – cooperative model, social enterprise models – the aim is for the project to become self-sustaining – i.e. generates its own income to support wages, overheads and projects.

Next Steps

A briefing paper will be prepared for the community in relation to the options for the existing building.

A more structured community forum will be held later in the year in relation to the existing building

The Fundraising working group will commence activities – contact NNIC to join the group.

A working party will be set up to steer the overall project – contact NNIC to join the group.

NNIC will commence work on the Business Case for the project.

NNIC and NCCI will work on engaging with community members who do not necessarily attend community forums, or participate in Hook Ups discussions.

Some Forum Feedback

Some valid comments were made that the Forum was a bit disorganised and facilitation was unclear.

It was pointed out that it would have been good for some kind of round-the-room intros especially for people new to the community who did not know everyone there.

Michelle generously offered her services as a graphic scribe at future forums

Need to engage young people, local Goori mob, people who do not come to Forums to participate in an on-line environment – Diana has ideas about this.

We will endeavour to address this at future forums.

Thanks to everyone for coming (65 people) and we will keep everyone informed.

Principles of Sustainable Development


The definition of ecologically sustainable development as suggested by the Australian Government is as follows: ‘using, conserving and enhancing the community’s resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased’.


There are many international statements of sustainable development, but they all encompass the same or similar set of key 7 principles.


The Australian Government formally adopted a number of principles for Ecologically Sustainable Development in 1992 (Australian Government, 1992 National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development) as follows:



1. Decision making processes should effectively integrate both long and short-term economic, environmental, social and equity considerations.

2. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation. (This is known as the “precautionary” or “Do No Harm” principle).

3. The global dimension of environmental impacts of actions and policies should be recognised and considered.

4. The need to develop a strong, growing and diversified economy which can enhance the capacity for environmental protection should be recognised.

5. The need to maintain and enhance international competitiveness in an environmentally sound manner should be recognised.

6. Cost effective and flexible policy instruments should be adopted, such as improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms

7. Social License and inclusiveness – decisions and actions should provide for broad community involvement on issues which affect them;

* to enhance individual and community well-being and welfare by following a path of economic development that safeguards the welfare of future generations

* to provide for equity within and between generations

* to protect biological diversity and maintain essential ecological processes and life-support systems.


Nimbin Neighbourhood & Information Centre