Forest Lakes is making the numbers count

As featured in the Chronicle Herald.

While numbers are not necessarily the most important thing when it comes to the planning and execution of a project, Forest Lakes Country Club, the up-and-coming resort-style residential community, and its world-class, 18-hole Nicklaus Design golf course, have some pretty impressive statistics. Terra Firma Development Corporation (TFDC), the developers of the project, took what was an ambitious idea on paper in 2008 and broke ground in the heart of Nova Scotia four years later. Today, Forest Lakes has nearly 30 residences built or under construction and a number of residents call the blossoming community home. But that is only the beginning.

“By the time the project comes to complete fruition, there will be over 2,000 homes nestled between the woodlands and lakes of the 1,700-acre development,” says Ralph Bastarache, vice president sales.

The developer expects more than 7,000 residents to call Forest Lakes home when the project is fully complete, which ultimately means thousands of people who will infuse money into the local economy on a regular basis, adds Joanne Cheevers, director of marketing. On top of this significant boost to the local economy, the project will bring in more than $500 million in foreign investment to the province of Nova Scotia, which is new money injected into the economy.

Local businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores and other retailers are not the only ones that will prosper as a result of Forest Lakes, according to Bastarache. “Over the next 15 years, businesses of all shapes and forms in Nova Scotia will reap the benefits of Forest Lakes, which includes utility companies and construction trades to tourism attractions, as well as mom and pop shops.

The province and municipality can further expect to see a $1.5-billion property-tax base from residences and businesses at full build-out. “Some of this will come from the three hotels and the family entertainment centre that are included in the project plan, which will drive more tourism to this area of Nova Scotia,” adds Andrew Alcorn, executive vice president.

When it comes to tourism for the province, the numbers are equally as impressive. So far, thousands of foreign visitors have already made the trip to Nova Scotia as a result of Forest Lakes’ many initiatives, including numerous open houses, fundraising events for local charities and their continuous marketing efforts. “These people are shopping, sleeping and dining at Nova Scotian businesses and this number will only continue to grow,” Cheevers says.

In a province where employment rates are far too often cyclical, Forest Lakes expects to employ an additional 600 to even 800 people when completed. This includes everything from full-time employees at the golf course, hotels, grocery store, shops and services and other businesses to crews for landscaping, home maintenance and plowing the roads. Skilled tradespeople, such as painters, framers, plumbers, electricians, concrete finishers and others will also be needed to build everything at Forest Lakes. “This works out to roughly 5,000 person-years of work for Nova Scotians over the lifetime of building this project,” adds Alcorn.

The Forest Lakes community will also include a number of amenities, such as trails for hiking, cycling, or skiing in the winter; an equestrian centre, a farmers’ market, featuring all local produce and an on-site restaurant that serves dishes created using locally made foods. There will also be a first-rate entertainment centre featuring bowling, swimming, and even laser tag. All of this will create ongoing job opportunities for Nova Scotians and local entrepreneurs, says Bastarache.

One of the most exciting offerings at Forest Lakes is the custom-designed 18-hole golf course. The world-renowned Nicklaus Design team has already finished the 14th and 15th holes in what is poised to become an internationally- acclaimed, must-play golf course. This season, you will see upwards of 50 to 80 skilled staff working on the course, and as the golf course nears completion, permanent jobs will be created for course management and also for the golf travel industry.

This one-of-a-kind course will bring golfers and their families from around the world to the province, who will not only spend money that goes directly into the local economy, but it will also position Nova Scotia internationally as a place to visit.

TFDC is a firm believer in giving back to the community, which is why Forest Lakes has supported the Turnaround Achievement Awards, which recognize students in the Annapolis Valley region that have overcome personal and educational challenges with hard work and perseverance. Every year since 2014, seven deserving youth receive recognition among their peers and a Grade 12 student receives a bursary toward their post-secondary education. To date, 28 students have been recognized by TFDC, which further supports the community of West Hants by collecting food items for the local food bank and donating any recyclables to the local cadet group, who can turn them into cash.

So, while the numbers are not the only things that matter when building a community, they are certainly something to consider.

For more information and updates on the many more exciting changes at Forest Lakes Country Club, attend their next open house by clicking here.