Ranch heats up luxury living at hot springs
Calgary couple upgrades to home at Elk Park Ranch in Radium Hot Springs
It was a Boxing Day sale they just couldn’t walk away from. Calgary couple Janet McMaster and Tom Byttynen were at their condo in Radium Hot Springs, B.C., during last year’s Christmas holidays.
On Boxing Day, 2011, they visited a show home in Elk Park Ranch, a new development on the north side of the village.
“When my husband tells this story, he calls it the most expensive trip to the dump, ever,” says McMaster.
“At our condo in Radium, we don’t have any garbage pickup service, so we have to take our garbage to the dump in Edgewater or back to Calgary. So we were on the way to the dump on Boxing Day and lo and behold, there was an open house sign at Elk Park Ranch.
“We thought we should just stop and have a look at the house. Then one thing led to another and we ended up buying the house.”
The walkout bungalow has about 1,450 square feet on each floor. The show home was on sale at a price that even included the furniture.
“Because it was a show home, it had all the bells and whistles — granite countertops, beautiful hardwood and built-in hot tub on the lower deck outside. It was quite something,” says McMaster.
The couple was impressed with the high ceilings, exposed beams and open-concept floor layout in the main living area.
The huge windows present a spectacular view of the mountains, while two bedrooms on the main floor and two bedrooms in the basement provide plenty of room for friends and family to visit.
The couple’s original condo had just one small deck, while the house has two large decks with incredible views of the Purcell Mountains.
The house also has a two-car garage and more space outside, while the condo had only a single-car garage.
“We were thinking of buying something down in Arizona,” says McMaster.
“Once we saw the house, we fell in love with it and thought it would make more sense to have more of a house here that we can enjoy 12 months of the year. Tom isn’t quite ready to retire yet.
“We could buy something down there and, sure, prices are really cheap, but how often are we going to be able to get down there
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Byttynen is the president of Thomas Fresh, which packs produce, while McMaster is an archivist and freelance writer.
The entrance to Elk Park Ranch is a two-minute drive north of the four-way stop in Radium Hot Springs on the west side of Highway 95.
Because the 80-hectare subdivision is within the village’s boundaries, it offers full services such as water, sewer, cable, telephone and Internet.
Of the land, developer Schickedanz West has plans to develop about 45 hectares, leaving the rest as green space, walking trails and a park area.
The project borders the Columbia River wetlands, which provides an important waypoint for migrating birds.
“We have the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Purcell Mountains to the west, with unobstructed views of both,” says Scott Sauermann, sales represen- tative with Royal LePage Rockies West Realty. “With the green space and the extra breathing room, the views and the location, that’s the overall appeal to Elk Park Ranch.”
The main focus in the area is currently single-family and acreage home sites, as well as duplexes. Green space is a main consideration, with each side of the duplexes sitting on at least 0.2 hectares.
Phase 1 has one single-family lot and seven acreage lots remaining. Phase 2 is in the process of being approved and has 13 single-family lots.
Sites for single-family homes are priced from $75,900 to $129,900 plus tax and come with a four-year building commitment.
Acreage lots are priced between $119,900 and $269,900 plus tax, and have no time frame on building.
Owners can choose to build with Schickedanz West or bring in their own builder.
With front-attached two-car garages, the duplexes are completed buildings, with five of one floor plan and four of a second plan available. They are priced between $349,500 and $509,900 plus tax.
Schickedanz West will put a homeowners’ association in place to maintain trails and an amenities centre, which will include a hot tub and fitness facility.
Annual association fees will likely be about $240, says Sauermann.
While McMaster and Byttynen bought the show home, Schickedanz West has another single- family show home underway, which should be open for viewing this summer.
A duplex show home should be ready during the spring.
Sauermann says the starting price to build single-family homes is under $400,000, with a much larger scope, of course, for estate homes on the acreages.
McMaster has always loved spending time in the Columbia Valley.
“It started when I was a kid. My family went out to Lake Windermere every summer.
“We didn’t own a cabin, but we rented a cabin in the same complex and there were all these families that went up. That was our summer holidays for years and years as I grew up.
“A lot of people from Calgary really have that connection. People we’ve met on golf courses spent time there as kids and end up going back as adults.”
The couple bought a condo in Radium in 2004 because they love to golf. The shorter winter in the Columbia Valley means the golf courses open earlier and close later than around Calgary.
“Then we found that we like it in the winter just as much because we like to cross-country ski and snowshoe, and it’s so peaceful up there,” says McMaster. “The summer’s always a real busy time because you get all the tourists, and it’s more peaceful and quiet in the winter.”
The couple enjoy upsizing from a condo to a single-family home for their weekend retreat.
“We’re at the point in our lives now where we’re going to be spending more and more time out there, so the weekends have been getting longer,” says McMaster. “We thought it would be nice to have a little more space, particularly outside.”
Sites for single-family homes are priced from $75,900 to $129,900 plus tax. Acreage lots are priced between $119,900 and $269,900 plus tax, and have no time frame on building. DIRECTIONS: The discovery centre is open in the Village of Radium, at 4930 Highway 93. It’s at the southeast corner of Radium’s main intersection directly across from the PetroCanada station. Except for Tuesdays, the centre is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The entrance to Elk Park Ranch is a two-minute drive north on Highway 95 from the four-way stop in Radium and is on the west side of the highway. INFORMATION: Visit elkpark ranch.com
Janet McMaster and Tom Byttynen. AGES: 56 and 61. BACKGROUND: The Calgary couple decided to move up from a condo getaway in Radium, B.C. to a single-family house in Elk Park Ranch to make the most of longer weekends away from Calgary. They like having more deck and yard space.
Janet McMaster and Tom Byttynen in their home in Calgary. The couple has purchased a home in Elk Park Ranch, a new project in Radium Hot Springs, B.C.
The exterior of the McMaster/Byttynen home in Elk Park Ranch in Radium Hot Springs, B.C.
The great room has views of the surrounding mountain scenery.