May 01, 2010
LOVING AIRDRIE LIVING | Boom goes the small town
Growth continues and Airdrie residents couldn’t be happier
French philosopher Albert Camus defined happiness as “but the simple harmony between man and the life he leads.” Airdrie just may be the best example of how this principle works, as its residents give Calgary’s sister town to the north an almost total satisfaction rating.
Residents of Airdrie recently gave their quality of life a 98 per cent satisfaction rating, according to the 2009 annual Citizen Satisfaction Survey, the highest score in a group of 17 municipalities surveyed by Banister Research. Residents also gave city services an 83 per cent satisfaction rating. The evidence all points to Airdrie being a great place to live, whether for singles, couples, families or empty-nesters.
It is a delicate balancing act to serve the needs of a growing community without sacrificing the ease of living convenience, especially during a time of such economic turmoil. But Airdrie seems to be doing the job superbly.
The City had only recently announced that it was providing a much-needed intercity bus service to take Airdrie commuters to Calgary’s downtown. The service — using three long buses — will begin in the fall and everything is being shouldered by the city.
Airdrie residents have long complained of the lack of this particular service and Mayor Linda Bruce says the municipal government couldn’t wait any more for the cash-strapped provincial government to come through with this promise. “We can’t wait any longer — we need to provide for the needs of our communities.”
It is this pro-active approach to growth that has been the hallmark in Airdrie, which is looking to annex more land to support its growth. Bruce says they have submitted a letter of intent and believes negotiations with the Municipal District of Rocky View will be easier this time around.
A town for all seasons
Paul Gerla, Development Manager of WestMark Holdings, says Airdrie has it all. “Here in Airdrie, it certainly is far more convenient to complete all your day-to-day activities. Many of the major stores, Walmart, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Superstore, are operating here and they all seem close at hand. I can measure my total commute time in minutes to every single major shopping outlet in city. And, when I get there, it’s not frustratingly congested as it is in Calgary.”
Airdrie is also equipped with a wide selection of really great recreational facilities that, like the shopping, all are a short distance away and not too crowded. Gerla adds that Chinook Winds Regional Park will soon be major destination with its ball diamonds, world class skateboard park, splash park and multi-use courts.
“All of these places are just a short walk or bike ride from where our family lives in Cooper’s Crossing, also Airdrie’s great pathway system really encourages alternate methods of getting around,” he adds.
WestMark is of course intimately connected with Airdrie’s growth, having been one of the first developers to see the potential in this prairie community. It was set up some 20 years ago by Paul’s father, Bob, with Waterstone Park, and were the first to offer walk-out lots in Airdrie.
They have been developing exclusively in town since, and their latest project Cooper’s Crossing is about halfway done, Gerla adds.
“Cooper’s Crossing is WestMark’s third and largest community. At 320 acres, Cooper’s Crossing will ultimately be home to approximately 5,000 people. That’s equivalent to half the entire population of Airdrie when WestMark first entered town.”
Airdrie is the kind of town you want to puts roots in, says Karen Behiel, Reid Built Homes’ area manager in King’s Heights. “In many of the new communities in Calgary, you get the feeling that people look at their home purchases as more of an investment opportunity, but in Airdrie people come here to settle and raise their families.”
Price points are also a little more competitive than in Calgary. “It’s slightly less expensive in Airdrie, you get more house here compared to what you can get for the same amount in Calgary,” says Remax Rockyview’s Laurel Black.
She says a new three-bedroom, double-car attached garage home can be bought here on average for about $350,000, while average price for new condo units is around $275,000. “Sales have picked up considerably in the second half of the year and 2010 looks to be really busy,” she adds.
Airdrie also has the lowest property taxes on the median single family assessment of $1,879 per year, compared to 15 other municipalities in the Calgary area. Business owners in Airdrie have a distinct tax advantage over Calgary, for both industrial and commercial properties. Calgary’s industrial property taxes are 113 per cent higher than in Airdrie and Calgary’s commercial property taxes are 122 per cent higher, according to a City of Airdrie fact sheet.
There are several new neighbourhoods sprouting up along the city’s perimeter, including Ravenswood and King’s Heights in the southeast, Reunion and Williamstown in the northwest and Windsong at its southwestern edge.
Canada’s biggest home builder, Ontario-based Mattamy Homes, opened its first major project in Alberta with Windsong early in 2009, which the company says is only the beginning of its long-term commitment to invest in the province. Windsong is a 130-hectare development with potential for 3,000 residences.
AIRDRIE NEW COMMUNITIES
Bayside is an exciting blend of upscale single family homes and condos. Nearly 80 per cent of all homes have private water access and nearly 50 per cent have the capability of installing private boat docks. Six kilometres of waterways are linked by walking and bike paths.
Builder: Genesis Builders Group.
Located a quick drive from all of Airdrie’s shopping and service amenities, this neighbourhood is connected by a unique six-kilometre waterway system flowing into a five-acre lake.
Builders: Cordwell Fine Homes, Crestview Homes, Douglas Homes, Point Grey Homes, Swiatek Homes, Vanity Homes.
Cooper’s Crossing/Estates of Cooper’s Crossing
Cooper’s Crossing is well designed and beautifully landscaped with a six kilometre pathway system connecting every corner of this hillside development. Airdrie’s most prestigious address is the Estates of Cooper’s Crossing with estate homes on lots up to 74 feet wide.
Builders: Copper Rock Homes, Homes by Avi, McKee Homes, Artigiano Developments.
Residents feel like royalty as they enter the community through its dramatic entry feature that includes a custom stone façade with tree-lined boulevard. Single-family homes and condos are now available.
Builders: Multi-Family: Beattie Homes, Reid Built Homes. Single-Family: Loreck Homes, McKee Homes, Reid Built, Shane Homes.
Ravenswood will appeal to a wide demographic with its affordable housing for young families and plan for sustainability over the long term. Residents will be within walking distance of downtown Airdrie or have a shorter commute to Calgary.
Builders: Broadview Homes, McKee Homes, NuVista Homes, Pacesetter Homes.
Located in northwest Airdrie, Reunion spans 150 acres and includes the 5.83-acre Bowen Park, the community will also be home to a designated church site, a public school site, two tot lots, a 4.45-acre storm pond and interconnected pathways.
Builders: Excel Homes, McKee Homes, Sabal Homes
This new community developed by Vesta Properties will be home to over 1,000 families when complete and is built around the ecological backdrop of the Nose Creek preserve.
Builders: Vesta, Douglas Homes, Talisman Homes
Ontario-based builder Mattamy’s first venture in the province promises to be like nothing else around with their trademark WideLot™ Homes that help create a neighbourly atmosphere with their front porches and other Mattamy key architectural design components. It’s an exclusive Mattamy community.