MACLEAY ISLAND COUPLE CREATING AN ISLAND ENVIRONMENTAL PARADISE A relatively new couple to our islands is bringing their amazing technical background to advantage to create a wonderful island environmental paradise. Ben and Teboney Mair own a major high tension membrane business Abstract Solutions Co which has been involved in the construction of specialist areas involving the roofing of some of Australia’s major sporting stadiums. Their work has taken them many places around the word and has introduced them to all sorts of new technologies. Well, it is some of those technologies and directions they are applying to their nearly one acre property located on the western foreshore of Macleay Island. In just 18 months they have transformed the large, narrow block into an environmental haven that will have an eventual commercial twist. Knowing your subject and how to get things done is paramount to Ben and Teboney with Teboney using her past life technical background to a huge advantage, particularly when it comes to managing tricky Government environmental issues. What they have produced so far is stunning. The block has a high street section falling away to lower land that runs nearly 100 metres to the western waterline. Ironically, much fresh water is located just under the surface on these verges of our islands, and they have managed to put it to extraordinary use. Catching it near their home building site, the water is designed to filter all the way to mangroves which, they have researched, attracts natural sand. It is gradually forming a waterside beach spreading out into the mud flats. In a forest area they have cleverly planted more than 300 native trees, shrubs and plants that have a two-fold purpose. Not only do the plants develop into a spectacular waterside rain forest, but they also happen to attract the ‘friendly bugs’ that keep others like mites and mosquitoes at bay. The couple have discovered new ways of planting that produces outstanding results, and is not necessarily the way others will tell you to go about it. A large vegetable garden is also very productive, blessed by not being attracted by every gobbling insect! The coup-de-gras is the brilliant above ground boardwalk system that meanders for nearly 100 metres through this pristine area to the waterfront. Branching off in various areas are raised ‘islands’ where glamping tents are located (the couple also sells and installs these via their Abstract Solutions Co.) Currently Ben and Teboney live in one of these until they start work on the major home construction in about six months. There are three of these structures, as well as other offsets for a barbecue and entertainment area and various benches and seating where various aspects of this unique environment can be enjoyed. It is important to know that the decking sleepers they have installed do not actually form a ‘deck’. It is a boardwalk, and for a good reason. All of this has been built via a unique ‘screw’ system; the boardwalk is not ‘permanent’ in this form. A boardwalk is not a ‘straight’ structure, but meanders in slightly different directions and is lower than one metre, making it perfectly ‘legal’ and within regulations. These are all things Teboney has discovered in the processes that she uses as a result of running Abstract Solutions Co to a very high level in some amazing places around the world. Prior to Christmas the couple hope to have installed a swimming pool near the future home location that is identified by x3 massive walls of sandstone blocks. When they get to build their three-level home, it will feature as its roof some of the high tension membrane they use in their everyday work. “It will provide light to the home that will save massively on energy use,” Ben said. When fully completed, their home will in fact be a ‘mini’ environmental resort. There is so much that Ben and Teboney have achieved already that could prove beneficial to many on our islands. We can all learn from what this couple are doing and achieving. Having them and their business as part of our island community is a huge bonus.
• The beautiful rainforest boardwalk