Fly Away Home

Okotoks community allows flying enthusiasts to take their interest even higher

Trading the hazards and headaches of the highway for the scenic serenity of the skies, the Okotoks community of Air Ranch allows aviation enthusiasts to take their interest even higher.

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 in 32 acres of green space that runs through the 240 acre 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.”

The result of Winters’ vision is a community that is nearly unheard of in North America, one that allows residents the unique ability to literally fly away home. Considering the fact the area is also home to the country’s first solar community Drake Landing, it would appear the people of Okotoks are fairly open to new ideas.

Although Milne explained there aren’t as many people using the airport as originally planned, the runway has become an essential feature by several local residents, and has even been used by HAWCS and STARS.

“It’s a fairly novel idea, and the people who do use the airport love it,” said Milne. “There are at least five lots that have hangars that the residents use, and there are additional residents that use the available storage hangars and tiedown areas at the airport on a regular basis for recreational flying.”

The airport is also home to Skywings Aviation flight school and the Okotoks Flying Club.

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.”

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.

For more information, visit www.okotoksranchersrise.com or contact Bordeaux Developments Head Office at 403-215-0800.

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