M.D. of Foothills Mayor Larry Spilak says a growing number of new residents in the area are younger couples to middle-age professionals who are choosing to raise their families in a rural environment. CREB®Now file photo.

M.D. of Foothills not immune to market conditions: Mayor

CREB®Now sits down with M.D. of Foothills Mayor Larry Spilak

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Situated south of Calgary, the Municipal District of Foothills is changing. Communities such as Okotoks, High River, Black Diamond and Turner Valley are growing, while areas in-between are seeing its demographics evolve.

CREB®Now recently sat down with M.D. Mayor Larry Spilak to get his two cents on everything from the local housing market to his favourite thing to do on a day off.

CREB®Now: First off, you’re title recently switched from reeve to mayor? Why?

Spilak: Many rural municipalities are making this change. The term “reeve” is not as familiar to many residents, while the term “mayor” is universal and does not require any explanation. Whether called a reeve or a mayor, the responsibilities and duties for the position are the same.

CREB®Now: What have been some of the big movements in the M.D over the past year?

Spilak: One of the most important projects was the installation of the traffic lights on Highway 2A and Dunbow Road. It took years of campaigning to get this safety improvement at a very dangerous intersection. Another important project is the ongoing negotiations with Calgary for a new Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP). The MD of Foothills and the City of Calgary are currently reviewing their joint IDP. While there is an existing IDP, it is now more than 15 years old and requires updating. Recently, the MD of Foothills has entered into preliminary IDP negotiations with Okotoks.

CREB®NowIs there a certain demographic of homebuyers who are looking at moving to the Foothills and its communities? And has this changed in recent years?

Spilak: A growing number of new residents are younger couples to middle-age professionals who are choosing to raise their families in a rural environment. Prior to this newer demographic, the majority of homebuyers were older, looking for retirement in a rural locale.

CREB®Now:How do you feel Alberta’s economic downturn will impact the M.D. and its housing market in the year ahead?

Spilak: The housing market in the MD of Foothills will feel the impact much the same as our surrounding neighbours. Currently, we do have many larger estate homes that are being constructed. As a rule, we find the rural housing market follows the urban centres surrounding us, but we seem to be the last to feel the increase and the first to be affected by a downturn.

CREB®Now: Are there any current discussions with neighbouring M.D.s and City of Calgary about furthering a transit solution?

Spilak: The new On-It Regional Transit Service will be launched by the Calgary Regional Partnership, which we are not members of and therefore have no participation.

CREB®Now: What is your favourite thing to do in the M.D. on a day off?

Spilak: When I have time, I like to drive to the west part of our region to take in the foothills.

CREB®Now: What, if anything, do you think is Foothills’ best-kept secret?

Spilak: The quality of life that homeowners experience living in this country setting.

CREB®Now: What’s your favourite room in your home and why?

Spilak: Definitely my family room where I relax and watch sports and movies with my family.

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