Courtesy of Owners Association of Harmony

For residents of Calgary’s lake communities, having such a special amenity available during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a blessing. Now, those communities are looking ahead to, hopefully, even better times this summer as the province reopens and restrictions are lifted.

Mahogany Homeowners Association general manager Sally Lockhart says they managed to operate most lake facilities last summer and will do so again this year. The reservation system and check-in requirement that worked well last year will again be in place, she says, but now households will be able to bring two guests to the lake.

As the province announces further changes to requirements, things will slowly start to return to a more normal state for Mahogany residents using the lake facilities.

“(But) we’re not going back to a complete normal, it’s going to be a phased process,” said Lockhart. “We still have to manage numbers and the people entering and making sure social distancing is done.”

Community programs at the lake, including summer camps, are set to begin on June 28 with the required safety measures in place.

Lockhart says some popular events are returning in a different format, including the Canada Day celebration that used to see 3,000 residents gather for a pancake breakfast. This year, residents will be spread out between two beach park locations with bands playing at each beach.

“We’re hoping, just like everybody else, to go back to near normal conditions this summer, but again, we will follow whatever is set forth by AHS and government.” – Nancy Farah, Owners Association of Harmony

Near Springbank, the still-developing community of Harmony had completed many of its outdoor-focused amenities, including the first of its two lakes, prior to the pandemic.

“Residents have still been able to enjoy the lake and other amenities and we’ve ensured that measures per Alberta Health Services were put in place to ensure the physical distancing guidelines,” said Owners Association of Harmony liaison Nancy Farah.

Farah says residents will again be able to access the lake in the coming months, but what exactly the entire summer season will look like will depend on what changes are made by the province going forward.

“We’re hoping, just like everybody else, to go back to near normal conditions this summer, but again, we will follow whatever is set forth by AHS and government,” she said.

As a relatively new lake community, Farah says they are still in the planning stages for offering programs to residents at both the lake and the adventure park, which features a skateboard park and pump track.

Both Farah and Lockhart say their community’s lakes have been a blessing for residents during the pandemic.

“We feel it has been valuable to residents to have access to all these outdoor facilities,” said Farah. “Still being able to use these amenities, we hope, has provided at least some relief from the current conditions in the world.”

Lockhart says Calgarians in general have been fortunate to have so many great outdoor areas that they could enjoy during the past year.

“Living in a lake community and having all these amenities is a huge opportunity, especially when people can’t travel,” she said. “We as the HOA realized that and put a lot of resources into making sure that things were open.”