Amenities rank high for lake community residents
A cottage lifestyle within Calgary: that’s how local urban expert Richard White described Calgary’s lakeside communities.
“I know several people who love the idea of cottage life in the city. They’ll invest more in a house, because they don’t need to buy a house and a cottage,” said White.
Buyers are not only focused on the inside of their homes, but also on the outside, added Scott Hamilton, marketing and communications director for Hopewell Residential, the developer behind Mahogany in the city’s southeast.
“People are looking for recreational amenities that are convenient…Calgary is not lake country traditionally, so to have a lake is really attractive,” he said.
Lake Bonavista, which broke ground in 1967, was actually the first community in Canada built around a man-made lake.
White said Lake Bonavista was also ground-breaking because, “it was the precursor to the southeast becoming a place to live.”
Today, said White, the South Health Campus brings many residents into the quadrant who can afford lakeside living.
In fact, seven of Calgary’s nearly dozen lakeside communities are located in the southeast, including the other early lake communities of Midnapore (established 1977) and Sundance (1982), alongside new lakeside communities such as Auburn Bay and Mahogany.
“The land-development opportunities in the southeast have lent themselves better to master-planned communities with lakes,” said Hamilton.
Added White: “Calgary is ideal for these kinds of communities. You have a young, family-oriented population, an outdoorsy, athletic population, so lakeside communities appeal to these people.”
One of those people is Amy More. She, and her husband, John, purchased a home in Auburn Bay.
While their former Deer Ridge home was near Sikome Lake, More said they never went there.
“We like having somewhere to go that is private and taken care of,” she explained, adding their yearly $500 lake fee is well worth it.
“I grew up in Sundance. I always wanted to move back into a lake community. I don’t have any memories that don’t include the lake…Now, I want to build those memories as an adult, with my husband.”
Alex Capicio, his wife, Arlen – who works at the South Health Campus – and their three children have been living in Mahogany since January 2014.
Originally from Red Deer, Capicio describes Mahogany as “tight knit” and “close to amenities, but still small.”
Capicio said his kids go to the lake with friends, and that he and his wife have hosted barbeques there.
Furthermore, Capicio said he uses Mahogany’s extensive pathway system to train for marathons.
Lest one think lakeside living is only for the wealthy, both Auburn Bay and Mahogany offer condos and town homes starting in the $200,000-plus range. That price tag rises to well upward of $1 million for estate homes on one of Mahogany’s two private islands.
“When we compare this house to houses in other neighbourhoods, we thought Mahogany was a better investment,” said Capicio.
Added Moore: “You have to understand the value attached to the extra $20,000 you might be paying.”
As to the future of lakeside communities in Calgary, Hamilton said, “lakeside development will continue to make sense where land, municipal planning, and the market allow. They certainly tick all the boxes most buyers are looking for.”