Tiny paradise

Versatile tiny homes provide unique lifestyle on a limited budget

Mark Kirk sold his house, moved to Calgary, and only then realized how much stuff he really owned, and how little of it he regularly used. This revelation – along with his desire for a career change – led Kirk to start his own tiny-homebuilding business, Blackbird Tiny Homes.

These homes are called “tiny” for a reason, measuring between 120 square feet and 420 square feet. Kirk says that while tiny homes have been around for close to a decade in the United States – and are the subject of more than one HGTV series – they’re a relatively new option for Albertans.

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Swimming upstream

Bragg Creek forges its own identity in Calgary’s shadow

For more than 100 years, Bragg Creek has existed in the shadow of the ever-expanding city of Calgary.

Yet the hamlet, located a 45-kilometre drive west of the city, has managed to maintain its enviable lifestyle in a beautiful location along the edge of the Rocky Mountains.

Resident and local business owner Mark Kamachi says he and his wife moved to Alberta from Vancouver 20 years ago to work at a Calgary advertising agency, and they chose to live in the city at first.

However, they found themselves spending many weekends hiking and biking in the mountains near Bragg Creek. Fifteen years ago, they decided to make it their new home.

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New life for Bragg Creek

Plan is expected to provide more housing diversity, increase tourism options

A plan approved by Rocky View County late last year to rebuild Bragg Creek after the 2013 flood will also lift a 20-year building ban on the community and is expected to transform the hamlet from a through-point to Kananaskis with a mature population into a vibrant business community with young residents.

Long favoured by day-trippers, Bragg Creek has seen little change in decades due to the lack of water and wastewater infrastructure to support new residents. Under the new plan, the hamlet will encourage flood-resilient design, including homes raised on piles, roadways with permeable surfaces, and rustic themed landscaping that conceals structural dykes.

“The Hamlet of Bragg Creek is envisioned to be a vibrant commercial core that attracts residents and visitors, a thriving residential community, and a country atmosphere that is in harmony with the natural environment,” said Amy Zaluski, acting policy supervisor in the planning department at Rocky View County.

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Next door to nature

Residents tout benefits of acreage living

Anna Garcia loves her neighbours.

The Bragg Creek resident says they’re relatively quiet, active and the kids are cute.

Did she mention they’re a family of moose?

“We saw her (the mom) almost daily, licking right off our deck. Those moments are spectacular. It makes us feel exceptionally lucky,” said Garcia.

The lure of living so close to nature was too much for Garcia and her husband to resist when the couple uprooted from Willow Park in southeast Calgary to their largely forested Bragg Creek acreage in 2001, where Garcia’s husband also owns a furniture business.

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