Contentious $6B Springbank development set to break ground

Construction is about to begin on the first phase of a major development in Springbank on the outskirts of Calgary.

Harmony planned as a 3,500-home village community west of Calgary near the Springbank Airport

Birol Fisekci, president of Bordeaux Properties, shows off a model of phase 1 of his company's Harmony development, a $6-billion project getting underway this summer in Springbank. (CBC)

Construction is about to begin on the first phase of a major development in Springbank on the outskirts of Calgary.  

Harmony is being built adjacent to the Springbank Airport, which is just north of the Trans-Canada Highway and west of Range Road 33.

The $6 billion project, planned by Bordeaux Properties, includes a mix of residences plus a village centre, school site and a recreation centre.

“At full build out, Harmony will have 3,500 homes. It will have offices, light industrial and it will have a 36-hole golf course as well as a 140-acre lake,” said Birol Fisekci, president of Bordeaux Properties.

Some people living in Springbank have been opposed to the project from the start, arguing it won’t fit with the rural atmosphere of the nearby acreages.

Others believe there will be conflict between the airport and residents of the new community.

Noise concerns

Colin Macleod, president of the Springbank Airport Business and Pilots Association, is worried about a spike in noise complaints.

“[We operate] under restrictions now due to the noise complaints in the community and we feel that the residents of harmony will create pressure in increasing our operating restrictions,” he said.

But Fisekci says noise won't be an issue for people who move to Harmony.  

“We like the fact the airport is there, it compliments what Harmony is adding,” he said.

“We're an urban fabric. There's going to be 3,500 homes in the area — that's a lot of cars coming in and out, that's kids playing on their bicycles, a lot of conversation with neighbours, barbecues and businesses. The expectation of a homeowner when they're living in an urban area is less stringent than someone on a country residential lot.”

Construction of the first phase, or 240 homes, begins this summer. But Rocky View Country Reeve Margaret Bahcheli said the entire plan has yet to be green-lighted.

"Although there is absolutely support from this council at a conceptual level, you know, it has to be proven as we move along," she said. 

More developments planned

Another controversial development is slated for a 25-hectare section of land kitty-corner to Calaway Park at the northeast corner of Highway 1 and Range Road 33.

Bingham Crossing will feature retail and office space as well as a retirement home.

Many Springbank residents tried unsuccessfully to persuade Rocky View County council to nix the plan.

And last year Tanger Outlets and Riocan unveiled plans for Tanger Outlets at Calaway Park, an upscale shopping development covering 350,000 square feet southeast of the amusement park.