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Keep our home & the Rainbow Commons from being demolished

Keep our home & the Rainbow Commons from being demolished

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This petition has been created by Samantha E. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
Samantha E.
started this petition to
Jill Hamilton

Save our home and the Rainbow Sustainability Commons from being demolished. The demolition date is set for 7 December. Urgent action needed!

We have draughts plans and engineering approval but Jill has refused to sign the plans and the municipality says that only her signature will prevent the demolition. Please sign the petition to urge Jill to do the right thing and keep our home from being demolished.

If you want to write to Jill directly, you can write your own email or cut and paste these words. “Dear Ms. Hamilton. We are very concerned about this demolition order which puts Samantha and her family at risk of losing their only home. You created a contract that gave Samantha the rights to land and to build their home and received money in exchange. They trusted your word that their investment on this land and home would be safe— you called them “landowners”. You are now not willing to sign the documents needed to keep their home from being demolished. How would you feel if your family home was at such risk? Please honour your contract, sign the documents, halt the demolition.” Email to yetileather@gmail.com

For details on the history and legal issues involved, please see below.

The Rainbow Sustainability Commons (our home that is under threat of demolition) is an off-grid sustainability demonstration centre for sustainable practices including permaculture, appropriate technology, organic gardening, and environmental education, cooperation, local economic development, and "small is beautiful" principles. See our video for a virtual tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbbRzdOUuHc&feature=youtu.be

Over the years, we have hosted many people including overseas help-exchange volunteers, locals, and school groups of students and teachers. We have been recognized by WESSA and USAID as a Sustainability Commons.

We were invited to this land by Jill Hamilton, title deed holder, and her son Dael Lithgow to be a part of an eco-village dream and they sold us a portion of the land and gave us rights to build our home. We signed the contracts Jill had written and paid her money for the share.

We built our wooden home in 2006 which is now the hub of the Commons. From only a piece of kikuyu, we have built a permaculture Eden of windbreaks providing shelter, swales to catch water, food forest, kitchen garden, medicine plants, an indigenous nursery and forest, beehives and appropriate technologies to conserve energy. Living in the home is me (Samantha), my two children Oriah and Kei who are home-schooled, and Shine. We manage the Sustainability Commons.

After researching the legalities of creating an ecovillage here, we found that Jill's contracts and our land purchase and self-built house didn't adhere to municipal planning and building laws. Jill promised to sell the land into a non-profit in order to develop legally and fundraise for the eco-village development but she never did transfer the title nor apply for development rights. She promised me a long-lease but she never gave it to me.

The neighbours reported the illegal development to the municipality who served a Contravention notice. We complied with the notice to be legal by getting draughts plans and an engineering certificate.

We are seeking legal counsel with Legal Aid but that will be a long-drawn out process, filled with stress, and without a certain outcome. If Jill signs, the demolition order is cancelled and our home is safe.
We want to continue to provide our public service of environmental stewardship, sustainability education, and climate change mitigation linked to our home and the Commons.

We love our family home and want to continue to welcome people to share this experience with us.

Posted (Updated )