A four-season lifestyle community we deserve

Sometimes we get what we want, sometimes we get what we need and, other times, what we deserve.

Here in Halifax we want vibrant communities. We need economic and environmental sustainability. We deserve to shine in the world market as a representation of what a good life can be.

The developers of Forest Lakes Country Club know we need, want and deserve these things too. So they are making it happen.

Terra Firma Development Corporation is jointly owned by two brothers originally from New Brunswick, Donald and Bradley Marr, who realize our part of the world has what it takes to be home to an internationally significant resort community.

With a mix of international and local partners, Terra Firma is in the midst of developing Forest Lakes Country Club between Bedford and Windsor on Highway 101. This is a four-season lifestyle community on a 1,700 acre site (with an adjoining 80,000 acres of natural land), offering residential and commercial real estate entwined with amazing on-site facilities and amenities.

I am stumped as to how I can explain the scope and esthetics of this project. I can say it will have homes that look like no others in Halifax. I can describe the plans for the 18-hole Nicklaus Design golf course, the community beach, the boathouse, spa, the walking trails and equestrian facilities. The condominium, townhouse and single-family home options. The commercial opportunities.

But really, the best way to describe this planned community is through the anticipated experiences those who live there will enjoy. Stay with me as I take you on a morning in the life of a future Forest Lakes resident…

The snow is fluffy but falling fast. She looks out a wall of windows upon a tree-filled winter fairy land. The drive to the home is already cleared by the maintenance team so she puts on a cup of coffee to plan her day. It’s a mid-winter Sunday and she lives in Forest Lakes Country Club.
Part chalet, part modern American, her home is a log and timber framed design, inspired by the Craftsman style. The stone fireplace has already been lit by her husband who woke hours before to go snowshoeing with his buddies in the community. He won’t be back for hours. She can see by the skylight in the vaulted, wood-beamed ceiling that it’s going to be a sunny day, despite the snow.

The kids have already packed their knapsacks and left for the equestrian facilities for lessons. She will meet them later for hot chocolate at the boathouse. They can watch the skaters and maybe lace up their own and join in. Or maybe instead they’ll go to the indoor water park – a thought that’s particularly delightful in these cold temperatures. Then again, the kids did mention they wanted to go next door to see their new neighbours who just moved from Ireland. Not for the first time, she thinks of how lucky they are to live in such an international community.

Meanwhile, the house is silent. You would never know you weren’t in a luxury cabin deep in the woods. In reality, The Village Centre is only a short walk or minutes’ drive away, where stores, cafes and restaurants are open. Also open is the spa and wellness centre.

A yoga class perhaps? Her legs are still sore from the cross country skiing she and her husband did the afternoon before. Maybe call her friend that just moved into the beautiful rustic condominium building down the road? She laughs to herself at the thought of last week when the two went bowling at the community entertainment centre. She needs to practice for sure. Maybe she’ll just stay in for a few hours and do some work. She has a business meeting tomorrow morning in downtown Halifax, only 30 minutes away. Maybe another cup of coffee will help her decide.
OK. Back to reality.

This can be you. This can be me. This concept solves my “I love my condo because of the convenience but truly miss living in a rural area” conundrum. My husband and I keep going back and forth between the pros and cons of each. With Forest Lakes, the dilemma seems to be solved. And don’t think it’s fiscally out of reach – homes here start in the $300,000s and go to $1 million-plus.

Fishing, tennis, swimming, quading, windsurfing, cross-country skiing, skating, snowmobiling, horseback riding. All of this will be available to Forest Lakes residents, without sacrificing convenience. Meanwhile, modern amenities and maintenance services are offered such as waste disposal, street cleaning, winter services and security services. And only 30 minutes outside of downtown.

Homes can be built by a preferred builder or by one of your own, the only prerequisite being they meet the high level of craftsmanship the community will uphold. DTJ Design, an internationally-renowned, award-winning architecture firm based in Colorado, is assisting with planning and architectural design. These professionals integrate the architecture, land planning, landscape architecture, community and social characteristics in all they design.

It will be a smart community of sustainable energy and water management practices and houses will be built snuggled into the trees. No clear-cutting in Forest Lakes. As a member of the Canada Green Building Council, Terra Firma strongly promotes the advancement of energy and water efficiency measures.

The planned built architecture in Forest Lakes is a whimsical complement to the natural surroundings, while maintaining a contemporary Canadian style using the highest quality fixtures and fittings.

Whenever possible, materials and labour are sourced locally. There is a definite theme of rustic contemporary elegance throughout – earthy tones, natural materials, wood, glass and stone.

The world is poised to discover our secret – that we have a lifestyle and environment here that can go toe to toe with any other place on earth. This is our opportunity to shine. And we deserve it.