Who or what is BEND?
BEND is an Incorporated Association using mostly local volunteers to do what we do.
Was it all voluntary?
Huge amounts of voluntary work was needed and freely contributed. Some people worked for the project with a work contract and were paid in the LETS currency ? ?sapphires?. If these people bought finished lots they could pay these sapphires back as part of the price instead of dollars.
Consultants, contractors and some individuals were paid along the way for specific roles and tasks.
How are you organised?
Our structure is a ?wheel? that includes all members, who are invited to General Meetings. At the centre of the wheel is an inner wheel called the Project Coordination Team. Radiating out and in to the inner wheel are many other wheels which are teams of people responsible for different aspects of the project.
How did you finance such a big project?
Being in a small rural town with networks, such as LETS (see www.BVLETS@thebegavalley.org.au) and the Mumbulla Steiner School and a community that has included ?alternative lifstylers? since the late 60s it was relatively easy to locate likeminded people who were prepared to lend money to buy the land. Everyone knowing each other helped in achieving the trust necessary for this to work. Individuals in BEND had other networks out of the Valley that we tapped into such as the national permaculture and Quaker networks.
Having bought the land, private loans funded the Development Application and Construction Certificate process. As time went on future residents became the major lenders. Once we had approvals, NAB was very happy to lend for us to put in the infrastructure.
How much of the works did BEND itself do?
BEND volunteers demolished a large old shed prior to infrastructure works beginning, but BEND has not taken on any building apart from the Neighbourhood House and a community shed. Purchasers of lots build according to guidelines in the Bend Management Statement (see resources page on website) that BEND created. The not-for-profit rental housing was developed in 2010 by our partner Community Housing Ltd (chl.org.au). BEND is fundraising to match government funds and contribute 10% towards the $2.55million affordable housing project. Part of this was included in the lot prices.
It?s been years in the making. Is it over?
In 2010 BEND needs to complete construction of the Neighbourhood House and some more minor buildings onsite. Our other main tasks are to oversee the formation of a tenant body for the Bend rental housing, and ?leave our nest tidy?!