Love of the land

Silverhorn acreage development focuses on conservation and enhancement of nature

For 25 years, Mark Kwasnicki has not only been living in the Bearspaw area on the doorstep of Calgary’s northern boundary, he has also been building large, custom homes for some who would become his neighbours.

He knows what people want when it comes to acreage homes – including the high-end construction specs, impressive designs, and all the bells and whistles – but he also knows what they want from the development itself.

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The appeal of acreages

Out-of-town living resonates for those looking for laid-back lifestyle

Dusty Dancer likes his privacy – a natural evolution having owned an acreage property south of Calgary for nearly two decades.

So he gets the appeal of how some homeowners might be looking to leave the city for a little r ’n r.

“Some have their own nine-hole mini-golf course. You can make it whatever you want to be. You can’t do that in the city,” said Dancer, president of the DeWinton Community Association.

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The great balancing act

Urban developments are playing nice with rural areas, say experts

Responsible urban development currently taking place outside of Calgary proves that growth doesn’t have to come at a cost, say local agriculture and planning officials.

As subdivisions push evermore into rural areas — with neighbourhoods bordering on fields of wheat and other crops — their impact on agricultural land has recently become a hot-button topic, said Tim Dietzler, an agricultural expert with Rocky View County.

“This is not a new issue in this area or any area in Alberta with development new agricultural land,” he said. “But many municipalities now pay much more attention to the potential problems that can arise.”

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Life as a country mouse

Acreage living brings unique challenges and opportunities 

Frankie-Lou Nelligan is no stranger to country life. She grew up on farms and acreages before returning to that lifestyle three years ago. Even so, Nelligan still experienced some maintenance surprises when, for example, she turned on her sink taps and the kitchen filled with the odour of rotten eggs. As she discovered, she needed to “shock” the well, or disinfect it with chlorine.

“My husband is a city mouse and I’m a country mouse. If you want to live on an acreage, you definitely have to have a country mouse,” says Nelligan, who along with her husband and three children, live on five acres in Springbank.

“You’re responsible for a lot more on an acreage. Every year, some kind of maintenance needs to be done on the septic tank or the well.”

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A bit of everything

Bearspaw, Springbank appealing to a more diverse sect of buyers

Long admired for its opulence, the communities of Bearspaw and Springbank just outside of Calgary’s northwest border are now attracting a wider range of buyers who are looking for a bit of everything, say industry professionals.

“Years ago, the area was big into horse culture – everyone wanted to buy a pony for their teenaged daughter. Now, it is more about organized sports, family vacations,” said Jeff Neustaedter, a real estate professional whose office last year saw 35 transactions above the $1.1-million mark in Bearspaw alone, ranging from 40-hectare sites to secluded parcels.

While the area between Calgary and Cochrane has always been known for its stately homes, McKinley Masters Custom Homes owner Mark Kwasnicki noted homeowners want more these days – they want space to stretch their legs, but also to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

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