StarMetro Calgary - - SPECIAL FEATURE: NEW HOMES - Kathy McCormick

Spring Creek, the com­pre­hen­sive com­mu­nity in the heart of Can­more, has out­grown Can­more’s hum­ble be­gin­nings as a tiny min­ing town west of Cal­gary.

The de­vel­op­ment headed up by Frank Ker­nick is al­ready its own ‘vil­lage’ com­plete with a va­ri­ety of hous­ing to meet vary­ing needs around a lively com­mer­cial area and now, a re­cently opened ho­tel.

And of course, the set­ting is hard to re­sist with small creeks bor­der­ing it, the beau­ti­ful Rocky Moun­tain back­drop and the prox­im­ity to Can­more’s vi­brant main streets.

The 70-acre de­vel­op­ment sits on land the Ker­nick fam­ily has owned since 1927.

“The land stayed in the fam­ily, but the dairy farm, which brought milk to the min­ers here — the main in­dus­try in tiny vil­lage at the time — closed when the mines closed and it be­came a trailer park and camp­ground,” says Ker­nick.

“I bought the land from the fam­ily and, since I had been in the de­vel­op­ment field in Can­more for 15 years, I knew I had to put that land to the best use pos­si­ble.”

So far, Spring Creek has a se­lec­tion of con­do­minium homes, vil­las, es­tate home sites, an ac­tive-liv­ing se­niors’ res­i­dence, and a lux­ury moun­tain lodge with va­ca­tion suites.

“We de­vel­oped Spring Creek a bit dif­fer­ently than the norm,” Ker­nick says. “We did all the stud­ies first — geo-tech­ni­cal, en­vi­ron­men­tal, etc. — then hired an ar­chi­tect and plan­ner.

“Our team vi­sion was that since it was so close to the down­town, we wanted den­sity, but it had to be low on the out­skirts so as to al­low ev­ery­one views of the creeks and moun­tains, and higher in the mid­dle. And there needed to be a com­mer­cial com­po­nent.”

Build­ings in Spring Creek are four storeys max­i­mum with stores and busi­nesses oc­cu­py­ing the first floor, while those build­ings closer to the creeks step down to two storeys - and the beau­ti­ful ar­chi­tec­ture has a def­i­nite moun­tain ap­peal with lo­cally-sourced Rundle­stone and tim­ber.

The lat­est build­ing to open The Mal­colm Ho­tel - sits at the en­trance into the com­mu­nity.

To date, five con­do­minium lodges have been built, as well as the se­niors’ res­i­dence and the lim­ited num­ber of vil­las and sin­gle-fam­ily homes.

Jack Pine Lodge is the sixth build­ing that will be built, and sales for this 49-suite cad­mium de­vel­op­ment have a mix of one-, two- and three-bed­room units avail­able. Homes start at $479,000. A lim­ited num­ber of live/work units are also in­cluded.

Twelve of th­ese units sold on the first week­end sales opened.

Of course the 1988 Olympics opened Can­more to the world and the lit­tle town flour­ished and grew.

“Can­more typ­i­cally had about 350 to 450 sales per year un­til 2008,” says Ker­nick. “Then with the down­turn, that changed to just 30 for four or five years. We lost a lot of builders and trades.”

But un­like Cal­gary, the town is again bustling with ac­tiv­ity. “In the last three or four years, it’s been busy again.”

In fact, says Spring Creek Realty sales di­rec­tor Ross Jansen, “Can­more has con­sis­tently shown a re­siliency in the face of a slower mar­ket in Cal­gary. We’ve had a sub­stan­tial in­crease in home sales and sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in prop­erty value.”

Some of the ini­tial buy­ers, says Ker­nick, bought for recre­ational use. “Some were week­enders to start, but ended up liv­ing here per­ma­nently.” He says most buy­ers so far, up to 90 per cent, are Cana­dian.

A full 30 per cent of Spring Creek is ded­i­cated to green space and the de­vel­op­ment in­cludes 2.5 kilo­me­tres of path­ways and a cross­ing over the creek, a board­walk to down­town Can­more, Alpine gar­den court­yards, a chil­dren’s play­ground, and cen­tral water plaza. The homes are all built to high en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards, in­clud­ing geo-ther­mal heat­ing.

By com­ple­tion, ex­pected to be an­other 10 years, the ‘vil­lage’ will have 1,000 res­i­den­tial units as well as the com­mer­cial as­pect.


Spring Creek holds it­self to a high en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dard, all of the units use geo-ther­mal heat­ing.

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