Home to the country’s first solar community, the town of Okotoks houses another innovative idea within its borders.
Sitting just 20 minutes from Calgary’s city limits, Air Ranch is Canada’s first private air park community, boasting a fully certified airport complete with a 3,100 foot runway set on 13 hectares of green space that runs through the 97 hectare development.
According to Scott Milne, development project manager of Bordeaux Developments — one of the builders working alongside the town in developing the area — the idea sprang from a local developer with a passion for flying.
“The owner of Okotoks Air Ranch, Bruce Winters, is a bit of an aviation and automobile enthusiast and through lots of travelling throughout the United States, he found they had a lot of airport communities,” said Milne. “The people who own the houses had direct access from their homes to the airport services.”
While the benefits of such an amenity are obvious to those with an affinity for aviation, Air Ranch has much to offer for everyone. Sales activity in Okotoks rose by 18 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 over the same time period in 2012. Air Ranch is just minutes away from schools, shopping and the bustling “Old Town” centre.
The town, which ranked as the 10th fastest growing community in Canada from 2006 to 2011, also boasts a surprising array of cultural amenities, including the Okotoks Art Gallery the Rotary Performing Arts Centre and the Okotoks Museum and Archives.
Also located just minutes away from Air Ranch is another unique area attraction. Home to the Okotok’s Dawgs, Seaman Stadium is the flagship facility of the Western Major Baseball League. Locally known as the “Dawg Pound”, the $8 million stadium features seating for 3,000 and has been ranked as one of the top 10 summer collegiate draws in North America.
Currently working on their ninth phase, the homes in Bordeaux Developments’ section of Air Ranch — known as Ranchers’ Rise — are being constructed by a trio of builders that includes Wolverine Custom Homes, Baywest Homes and Sterling Homes.
Although the area of Ranchers’ Rise presently under construction doesn’t offer runway access directly from the lots, the area still has plenty to offer both for pilots and also those not so inclined to take flight.
“The facilities are right there in your backyard, no matter what side of the runway you’re on, and you have storage at the airport,” said Milne. “We’re still promoting the convenience for flying enthusiasts, but beyond that it’s still a great place to live for any resident.”
The airport is also home to Skywings Aviation flight school and the Okotoks Flying Club.
Residents in Ranchers’ Rise will be able to make use of a planned soccer pitch and baseball diamond overlooking the wetlands, which sits on land first homesteaded in the late 1800s. Plans are also in the works to construct a school in the area.