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Eco-Friday blog post - Reflections on a driveway

In honour of ‘driveway construction week’, and also because it cost us a small fortune.... so we may as well get some mileage out of it (like what I did there?).

Early in our planning journey, we stood in our bottom field with a town planner, and were told bluntly that the project looked likely to be a budget-blowing-half-a-million-dollar, road widening money pit. The existing access that had been used for the past 50 years as a farm gate apparently simply wouldn’t cut it for the commercial operation we were proposing. And when it comes to road safety, there is no compromising.

We shrivelled up and died a little inside. We had just purchased this spectacular property with all our hopes and dreams tied up into it…so we faced a choice. Fight or flight. Be defeated or find a solution.

So we went to work. We had to find a way. We measured every distance, we researched every document we could find, looking for possible ways to safely get guests onto the property…because it would be kind of tricky to offer a retreat if they couldn’t!

It just so happened that fate played a bit of a hand in offering up a sliver of hope. We were down near the (declared unsafe and useless) gate when a neighbour happened to be walking past – someone we had never met before, who didn’t know us or our plans. We got chatting to her, and she naturally asked what we intended to do with the property. We gave her a quick summary of our miserable predicament, and in a serendipitous moment, she explained that she had experienced the exact same issue in a development they had previously applied for.

She had the answers we needed to move forward. She couldn’t have been taking her evening walk at any better time. The chances of bumping into anyone on the quiet roadside are slim enough – but someone who had been through what we were going through and knew how we might get it all resolved? Magic. Thanks again Susan!

We had speed tubes out on the road within a week, proving the operational speed of the road was significantly less than the indicated 100km/hr. This allowed for the identification of a clearing in the nature strip that offered appropriate safe sight distance in both directions. By including in the design slip roads and overtaking lanes, the project was back on, relief was palpable, and our new commercial entrance could be sketched up.

Now, 12 months later, and it is a reality. Over the past 5 days the team from Gun Profiling, along with our supervising RPEQ, traffic management, an environmentalist, an arborist and a qualified ‘spotter catcher’, have constructed the beautiful new entrance to the retreat. We feel reassured knowing that it is now a safer access point – worth the expense! And even better – it has been constructed using recycled material, so it is better for the environment.

In the end, we were our own town planners for this project, because we realised very early on that nobody else could be as invested as us in making it happen. We couldn’t expect to pay anyone to stay up all hours of the night researching, brainstorming or problem solving...and do we really need sleep anyway?! And the ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ mentality has stood us in good stead multiple times over the course of the planning and application stage too….although we may have a little more grey hair to show for it!

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