A 521-home development and golf course has been proposed for a scenic site overlooking the Red Deer River near Joffre.
Lacombe County council got its first look at plans for the Deer River development on Thursday.
To be built in phases, the project will feature an 18-hole golf course, homes built in a cluster-style design along with public walking trails, picnic spots with river access.
Council was told that the subdivision has been designed with an eye to maximizing the amount of natural area, including grasslands, tree stands and picturesque slopes retained.
Most of the lots at the site 10 km south of the Hamlet of Joffre will range in size from one-third of an acre to one acre, with 54 lots ranging from 1.5 to two acres.
The project has been in the works for eight years, said Ryan Vold, who helped put the project together with golf course designer Rod Whitman, who sculpted Wolf Creek near Ponoka and Blackhawk Golf Club in Spruce Grove. Housing projects, The Village at Wolf Creek and The Estates at Blackhawk, have blossomed around both courses.
“There are a lot of things that have to be put in place right now,” said Vold. “We’re at a very early stage.
“We’re expecting within a year or so that we can possibly get some movement on it. That’s what our plan is.”
Before the shovels go into the ground, the project must clear all the regulatory hurdles at the county, and financing partners must be lined up.
“We’re going to have to find some other partners to come on board to help make this thing move,” said Vold. “Now we’ve got to this stage we can start looking in that direction a little bit more.”
Vold said Wolf Creek financed the housing itself, but he’d rather have more outside investment this time around. The site, which is zoned agricultural and includes crop and pasture land, is owned by a privately held pension fund.
“It’s a tough struggle to do it on your own. But if you’ve got good capitalization and good investment money behind it, everything’s very plausible.
“We know how to put the housing together and how to match it up with the golf and how to get everything to work. (But) it takes a lot of money to do that.”
The golf course and first phasing of housing will lead off the project, and other phases will follow as economics and pre-sales warrant.
Much work has been done over the last few years. Traffic, storm water, groundwater, geotechnical, environmental and fire suppression studies have been completed.
A public open house has been tentatively scheduled for Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Haynes Community Hall.