Uncommon developer, unique plan

The Village of Seven Lakes to put conservation first

I mean it when I tell you there is a new HRM development underway that is unlike any other. To begin with, the developer is unlike any I have spoken with before.

Yes, after writing about real estate and development for more than 12 years, I have met the most elusive of land developers — a woman.

There is a story and half in that fact, and also in the story of how Gail Penney became a land developer and conservationist, after the tender age of 45 —which is a fascinating tale for another time.

The uniqueness of the developer is one thing — the unprecedented characteristics of the development is another.

The Villages of Seven Lakes is only 30 minutes from the Halifax core but you may as well be hours away in terms of its surroundings. The natural elements — forests, lakes, views, are enhanced by the use of conservation design when planning the development.

The science (and art) of conservation design involves much more than can be explained in this column, but I will grossly summarize it as the theory of land and residential development that seeks to promote sustainability in terms of economy, social aspects and the environment. The following are just some of the characteristics that align Seven Lakes with the principals of conservation:

  • The community will contribute to the long-term economic sustainability for both existing and new businesses in Porters Lake by gradually increasing the population to support them.
  • The Villages at Seven Lakes will supply three new HRM parks, including a sports field, for the enjoyment of all Porters Lake residents.
  • The development will stabilize local school enrolment and help young families stay in Porters Lake by offering homes at an attainable price.
  • Seven Lakes will offer home styles that accommodate a diversity of families at different stages of life.
  • The development will conserve and protect more than 60 per cent of the Seven Lakes natural landscape.
  • There will be preservation of the vital wetlands and water courses to assist in maintaining recharge of the water table.
  • Developers will install a state of the art septic systems that use tertiary technology to help prevent contamination and are serviced and maintained on a regular basis.

These are just some of the conservationist elements the new development will uphold.

What fascinated me was the commitment to conserve 60 per cent of the Seven Lakes existing landscape. There will be no clear cutting here. In fact, this community is comprised of small “Villages” linked together by trails that invite residents to walk, hike, bike and get out and enjoy nature while connecting with their neighbours.

The Villages of Seven Lakes offers a variety of home styles and a number of premium builders from which to choose.

Importantly, the variety not only lies in the home styles, but in home function — there will be homes suitable for first time home buyers, larger families and empty nesters. After all, why should you have to leave a beautiful part of the HRM like the Porters Lake area just because it’s time to downsize? Not everyone wants to retire to a condo in an urban area. Many people want to stay in their community.

The homes in Seven Lakes will address this need.

Designed by the award winning architectural firm Stephen Hunt Designs Inc., the homes will offer a fresh interpretation of the Craftsmen and Colonial Styles found throughout Nova Scotia. There will be expansive covered porches, tapered columns and a variety of roof lines.

In accordance with conservation theory, the homes are carefully placed on each building site where they can take full advantage of the great views, orientation to the sun, and the existing terrain. The homes in Seven Lakes won’t be cookie-cutter, that’s for sure.

This spring the first of six villages at Seven Lakes will be opened — Bell Lake West Village. Nearest to Porters Lake amenities and adjacent to Bell Lake, this neighbourhood will offer homes for every lifestyle including singles, semis and townhomes.

As the community grows and expands the other five villages will be opened, including Canoe Lake Village, Fiddle Head Village (love that!) and Conrod Landing Village.

Oh, and I guess it’s worth mentioning that Seven Lakes features, well….seven lakes. The community will be a haven for those who love to boat, swim, fish and all that other good stuff. Yet at the same time Mic Mac Mall and Dartmouth Crossing is only 25 minutes away. The Porters Lake Community Centre is only five minutes down the road and the elementary, junior high and high school are no more than a ten or 15-minute drive.

To learn more about this interesting new community, check out their Facebook page at Facebook.com/SevenLakesCommunity and follow them on Twitter at @sevenlakesNS to keep up with what’s happening. Whether you are planning a new home or not, this is a community worth a second look.