Drake Landing sets high bar for technology and sustainable design in Okotoks
Nestled on the eastern edge of Okotoks, the community of Drake Landing stands as a testament to what can be accomplished when innovation meets technology and sustainable master planning.
“The vision for Drake Landing has always been to provide a safe and sustainable community for people to raise a family in a scenic, small-town setting,” said Steven LePan, director of sales and marketing for Anthem United, the developer behind the community.
Situated above Okotoks’ picturesque town centre, overlooking the winding Sheep River and valley, Drake Landing offers expansive panoramic vistas of the Rocky Mountain foothills.
“Residents love the outdoor spaces, the parks, the pathways and playgrounds, the access to an off-leash dog park, and the views,” said LePan.
The community offers easy access to all of the recreational amenities within Okotoks, including the new recreation centre, along with shopping that rivals the big city.
“Sustainability has always been at the core of Okotoks’ development. It’s these kinds of initiatives that are drawing people here and they want to see more of them.” – Dawn Smith, environment and sustainability co-ordinator for the Town of Okotoks.
Drake Landing was established in 2001 and pivots around the award-winning Drake Landing Solar Community (DLSC), a partnership between the Town of Okotoks, ATCO and Sterling Homes. The 52-home, first-of-its-kind initiative involved successfully integrating energy-efficient technologies with an unlimited, renewable energy source – solar power. The result is less dependency on fossil fuels and a cleaner, healthier environment. More than 90 per cent of residential space-heating needs are being met by solar thermal energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by almost five tonnes annually per home. In 2011, DLSC earned the Energy Globe Award for Sustainability.
However, the 52 homes in the Solar Project are only a small part of the entire community, which spans more than 240 acres. The sustainability initiatives in the rest of the community focus on water conservation, including rain barrels, tap timers, and mandatory low-flow fixtures.
With that in mind, the vision and principles behind Drake Landing spurred on greater innovation in the town itself, with the developer United Communities (it’s since merged with Anthem to form Anthem United) helping to pioneer Okotoks’ current water conservation policy for new homes and communities.
“Sustainability has always been at the core of Okotoks’ development,” said Dawn Smith, environment and sustainability co-ordinator for the Town of Okotoks.
“It’s these kinds of initiatives that are drawing people here and they want to see more of them.”
The town is moving forward with managed growth, annexing surrounding lands and bringing new communities online, including two new communities by Anthem United – D’Arcy and its sister community, currently in the development stages. In addition, the town has integrated the MyHEAT initiative to track leaks in residential home heating, helping to improve efficiency and decrease heating costs, along with state-of-the-art water conservation techniques tied back to the carrying capacity of the Sheep River.
Almost 16 years after the first home was built, Drake Landing is nearing completion, with only 38 home sites left. Builders include Prominent Homes, Lifestyle Homes, Partners Development Group and Sterling Homes. Several housing styles are available, including single- and multi-family designs. Two multi-family housing projects are turning heads: Arrive at the Landing, a collection of two- and three-bedroom townhomes by Partners Development Group, and Lifestyle Homes’ the Parkhouses, which offers buyers a maintenance-free, lock-and-leave lifestyle.
At final build out, slated for late 2019, more than 4,000 residents will call Drake Landing home.