2. Community Design-In Day


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On 24th February 2013, members of the Nimbin community, invited guests and other interested people gathered in the Nimbin Town Hall to discuss the 7 Sibley Street project. It was a very successful event, with 71 people attending from 10am until 3.30pm.

To enable the inclusion of parents and carers, childcare was provided at the Neighbourhood Centre and 15 children attended this.

A key element of the Event’s success was the different perspectives brought by the participants in attendance over the day, including planners, community development workers, architects, permaculture specialists, builders, and the consideration of the design issues presented by people throughout the event.

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Key issues considered at the Design-In included:

  • Design criteria
  • Site considerations and their implications for the layout of the project design
  • Elements e.g. productive spaces, clean presentation spaces and outdoor/landscaping that the community wish to see included
  • Fate of the existing structure
  • Ideas for future fundraising.

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A number of key points emerged from the discussions, including:

  • The importance of acknowledging the role of the prevailing natural systems, in particular seasonal breezes and airflows, the passage of sunlight across the site and viewsheds to and from the site (including impact on the nearest neighbour )
  • The importance of considering the whole life cycle of any materials used and  buildings themselves – ‘cradle to grave’
  • Acknowledging the potential use and value of the existing house within the new site design
  • Identifying a number of key elements that the community wishes to have included in the project design and some ideas regarding how this might occur on the site
  • Identifying the importance of complimenting not duplicating any existing community facilities present within Nimbin
  • Identifying a number of ideas for raising the balance of funds owing on the land.


The Participants concluded that it was strongly preferable to keep the existing structure and move it to the street-front boundary of the site.

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Participants preference for the old house was indicated by voting with their feet.

Agreed actions

A number of actions were agreed by participants during the course of the Event. These include:

  1. A (brief) Outcomes Report will be prepared for circulation to participants and other interested parties and posting on the 7 Sibley Street project website (Michelle, Guy & Nat).  NNIC will continue to gather feedback and input.
  2. A photographic and video record of the Event will be prepared (Guy)
  3. The Design and Scope team will be reconvened (with some new members) to consider the outcomes of the event and commence work on the overall site design (Nat)
  4. A chart of fundraising ideas will be distributed throughout the community and community members invited to assist with events or take responsibility for implementing the ideas and estimating of how much funds they believe would feasibly be raised and a date/s for the relevant activity (Nat)
  5. This information will be collated by NNIC which will then develop a calendar of events and activities which aim to raise the targeted amount by the end of 2013 (Nat)
  6. People who have committed to leading fundraising activities will implement the activities together with people who have committed to assist them, with NNIC providing a support , coordination and resourcing role.


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Nimbin Neighbourhood and Information Centre (NNIC) in partnership with the Nimbin Community Centre hosted a Community Forum (“Design-In”) on 24th February 2013 to bring together community members, planners, community development officers, architects, builders, permaculture specialists and other experts to discuss design ideas for the 7 Sibley Street project.

The Event was held at the Nimbin Town Hall (Attachment 1– Forum Agenda).

Design-in Objectives

The Design-In was specifically aimed at bringing together community members and guests interested in the 7 Sibley Street project, with a view to:

  1. Obtaining further community input and creative ideas for transforming the 7 Sibley Street and former skatepark into Nimbin’s Sustainable Living Hub
  2. Providing direction to the Design Team working on the 7 Sibley Street project
  3. Generating ideas for raising the remaining funds owing on the purchase of the land.

Format of the Design-In

The agenda was developed by Diana Roberts and Karlin Bracegirdle with input from a small working group.

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The Design-in was designed and conducted as a series of small group discussion to explore options for the design of the site with feedback and discussion as a larger group. This flow of ideas throughout the day allowed the small groups to benefit from the larger group’s knowledge and experience to improve on their ideas.


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At the start, five short presentations were given to provide everyone with some insights and ideas to inform the design process. These included:

  • Background to the project and achievements to date – Nat Meyer
  • Site design considerations – Robyn Francis
  • Existing house options – Mark Floate (architect)
  • Integration with the Rainbow Road project – Lois Kelly
  • Regulatory and Council considerations – Peter Jeuken, Lismore City Council (LCC) Manager of Development and Compliance.


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A group with expertise in a range of relevant topics were also introduced by Diana as being able to contribute their knowledge throughout the day. They included: Yagia Gentle (builder) Samuel Herren (builder), Simone Weihermann (former architecture student with drawing skills), Adrian Williamson & Dick Hopkins (members of the design team that explored options for the existing house), Klara Marosszeky (industrial hemp expert including as a building material) and Alan Ross (draughtsperson).

A set of Design Criteria were identified prior to the workshop from previous community meetings and input from Council. These are illustrated in Attachment 2 – Design Criteria.

Following the short presentations, participants organised themselves into small groups and focused on the following areas:

  1. Landscape design
  2. Working space(s)
  3. Showroom / information space(s)
  4. Overall design

See Figure 1 below.

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Figure 1: Design focus groups

After several rounds of small group discussion and feedback, all participants were given the opportunity to vote for the elements / ideas that they most liked (green dots) and least liked (red dots).


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Graphic recording was undertaken by Michelle Walker and Guy Stewart photographed and filmed many aspects of the design-in. These have contributed to the detail in this Design-in Outcomes Report.

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Design-In feedback

At the close of the event, participants were asked for feedback and to rate what they believed were the strengths of the Design-In and how it could have been improved. 32 written responses were received, plus verbal feedback from participants. Overall, participants felt that the Event was well organised and enjoyable.

Responses to the question “What worked best for you today?” included:

“Drawing together lots of talented and skilled people”

“Seeing the process unfold: diversity honoured”

“Learning lots more about the project”

“Working out what to do with the existing house”

“The food” – (this was a consistent response – thanks very much to Stephen Howard and Sam Herren for the food!)

Working in small groups worked well for most people, but not for all.


Invitations to the Design-In were distributed to the community via the post, Nimbin Good Times, by hand, social media, and various email lists.


Ideas from the Design-In

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The key outputs of the Design-In are recorded in Attachment 3: Design-In Discussions chart and Attachment 4: Fundraising ideas chart.

Design thinking – initial ideas

  1. Landscape design
    1. Move the existing house to the north-west corner
    2. Develop a swale that leads water into a dam for storage
    3. Flat areas – develop the bike and skateboard repair shed, hold a regular food co-op
    4. Retain the south-east corner that is quiet as a meditation space
    5. On site grey water etc management
    6. Create family zone on slope between the two sk8 parks
    7. Slide and stairs
    8. Small skate runs for beginners
    9. Benches for viewing
    10. Netball nets
    11. Skate/Bike repair shed on old sk8 park
    12. Food forests and perennial herbs gardens
    13. Interactive Sustainable Games / Exercises. Link with Rainbow Road
    14. Recycled sculpture park



  1. Working space(s)
    1. Rename this as the ‘Production Spaces’
    2. Include a community-owned commercial kitchen (existing kitchens in and around Nimbin do not meet the identified need for a publically available commercial grade community-owned post harvest processing/food equipment storage and distribution centre)
    3. Have facilities for food storage – a cool room, canning and dehydrator
    4. Locate these close to the gardens and shed
    5. Old sk8 park – space for cooking and sharing of food, wheelchair accessible raised garden beds.
    6. Peoples’ Shed – include overnight shelter
    7. Possible Wheelchair accessible raised garden beds around edges of old sk8 park
    8. Parking on old court/skatepark -> garden and trees extending down to peace park
    9. Kitchen / Food Equipment Storage to be all on one level. Accessible by vehicle.
    10. Kitchen space large enough for teaching + workshops
    11. Water caught from buildings used to water trees + gardens downhill
    12. Workshop space for teaching all kinds of skills, electronics, mechanical, building, bike.
    13. Wwoofer accom/sleeping space/caretaker


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  1. Showroom / information space(s)
    1. Have a reception and initial space for visitors that would include an information walk / displays
    2. Design should include staffing and security considerations – ie ease of monitoring/managing the site and its contents, activities – line of sight issues etc
    3. Self managed tourist walk thru
    4. Beyond the reception, have a library of useful resources and areas such as media room
    5. Consider lifting the existing house and making it a 2nd storey
    6. Design the northern wall with bi-fold doors opening out onto a courtyard
    7. Include curves in the design, also labyrinth and games
    8. Strong support for an ‘Earthship’ concept
    9. i.      Potential to accommodate the Visitors Information Centre (currently on Cullen St) – Michelle your version referred  to include a Link-Up centre…I did not get that am wondering if it is actually the Visitors Info Centre which is what I have on my notes?
    10. Former skate park – consider uses such as Nimbin’s Farmers’ market,  outdoor workshops, sk8/bike repair shop, provide roofing and some limited walls using sustainable construction techniques such as haybales
    11. Move house to NW corner of the street
    12. Toilets tanks under kitchen
    13. House is retail space
    14. workshop space for a minimum of 30 people


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  1. Overall design
    1. Staging/timelining
    2. Use of circles and curves
    3. Use of sloped areas
    4. Access and inclusive design issues – elderly/the young/disability
    5. Porosity and high rainfall are key issues
    6. Need to preserve green/open space in the community
    7. Must be mindful of other business in town – support and build on rather than compete
    8. Consider nursery as a short-term activity on the site
    9. Sacred design elements – Fibonacci sequence, golden mean
    10. Parking for cars, bikes and wheelchair access
    11. Vehicle access from Sibley St via Northern end of the old sk8 park
    12. Move the existing structure to the south-west corner to maximise the northern aspect areas available
    13. Keep old sk8 park space as multipurpose flat space with undercover areas for markets, workshops, demos
    14. Central courtyard – buildings open onto with eg bi-fold doors
    15. Curved lines
    16. Domes
    17. Stained glass and glass bottles
    18. Small business incubators
    19. Archival info
    20. Retail and income streams
    21. Materials – ethical timber, straw bales, hempcrete
    22. Techniques (with, where feasible, “cut -away” sections to illustrate structure and technique.
    23. People able to walk in off the street and be able to offer their skills/time in exchange for food tickets eg food production, food processing, visit local farms or gardens.


Design elements – most liked

  1. 1.     Sheltered Courtyard
  • Stepped Staged Building along the centre of the 7 Sibley St Block
  • Each could be a different building method
  • Earth covered roof
  • Open/closed pavilion – workshops, meeting
  • Sheltered courtyard
  • Slope terraced with vegetable gardens
  • Central to whole site
  1. 2.     Relocation of old house
  • Located on Sibley St near neighbouring shed 7 green dots
  • Awning over the footpath
  • Council Heritage Recommendation
  • Potential for undercover parking
  • Reception, Library
  • Old driveway one way emergency access only
  • Move the crossing to join to community centre and public toilets.
  • Water tanks


  1. 3.     Backyard Showcase – “Living Workshop Area” Located along the Caravan Park Boundary
  • Growing seedlings
  • Worm farm
  • Plantings
  • Greenhouse
  • Waste Water
  • Compost Making
  • Bees
  • Raised beds
  • edible weeds
  • how to grow veges
  • solar system
  • water systems
  • how to have chooks
  • wind power
  1. 4.     Other
  • Curved walls
  • Old Sk8 park kept as open space as much as possible

Design elements – least liked

  1. Market and Parking on the Old Skate Park Site

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Fundraising ideas

Fundraising is required to pay down the balance of the loan relating to the purchase of 7 Sibley St, plus interest accumulated to date, and rates. The Community Centre has reserved the right to reconsider its liability position if the loan is not paid down in full by the end of 2013. The fundraising target (will continue to attract interest at 6.25%) is currently $70,000 to be paid down by the end of 2013.

The fundraising activities that have been organised for the immediate future and the estimated amounts they may raise include:

  • 7 DJs for 7 Sibley Street (in March – $2000)
  • Aquarius Fundraiser Event (in April – $2500)
  • Trivia Night #2 ( date to be set – $3000)
  • Raffles (throughout 2013 – $1000)
  • Website/paypal/donations campaign (ongoing – $5000)
  • BinyaButts – NimBin Ya Butts (Stu, with Lismore City Council, applying for a ‘Keep Australia Beautiful’ grant, must do survey to be eligible) ($1000)
  • Big Auction #2 (date to be set – $3000)


Total est funds: $17,500

The fundraising ideas offered by the Design-In included:

  • Mardi Gras ideas – parking, food stall, DOOF (Gudren), Garbage to Sculpture activity
  • Bunnings Sausage sizzle (NNIC to coordinate)
  • Car Boot market stall (Marney)
  • Channon Market stall
  • Crowd sourcing (Lois, Gill and Andrea)
  • Fashion Show (Steph, Gill)
  • Games night (Lois)
  • ‘Buy a brick’
  • Film night
  • Massage-in
  • Tax on the street stalls
  • House-shaped Collection tins (Steph)
  • Private events – dinner (Mandie)
  • Trivia Night at Tuntable (Saraswati & Mandie)
  • October Shareholders donation – Mandie
  • On-site stall with paint filled balloons for $5 (Joss)
  • School games
  • Café – cakes
  • Fete (Joss)
  • Workshops (Gudren)
  • Skate park competition with an entry fee
  • Barefoot bowls competition – entry fee and prizes
  • As above re soccer, other sports
  • T-shirt and postcards with pics donated by community for sale
  • Karaoke nite (Teena K)
  • Grow Hemp crop and people pay for opportunities to have pics taken with it
  • Regular high-tea info sessions at the Town Hall (Susan)
  • Lots more promotion of the project
  • Viral online video which links people back into the project
  • Corporate sponsorship – eg solar cos, building supply cos
  • Alternate loan with lower rates
  • Pub raffle
  • Everybody ask everyone they know to ask everyone they know etc for eg $50 donation – chain letter approach – prize for person who creates the longest chain? (Nat)
  • Approach philanthropists



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Attachment 1: Agenda


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