Living at the Ridge
Tuesday, 04 August 2009 15:24 Last Updated on Monday, 10 August 2009 07:57
I was born and raised in Red Deer, and I remember often driving my first car, a 1965 Plymouth Valiant, to one place just east of town, simply to sit on the hillside there. Corny as it sounds, I’d daydream about becoming a writer someday, never expecting that dream would come true or that it would eventually lead me back to the same hill with a family of my own.
Happily enough, as I tell kids at schools, I had no idea how bad my writing was, so rejection letters never discouraged me. It took ten years, but I finally saw my first novel in print, called Morning Star, about a cowboy named Sam Keaton. The book is long out of print, but I’ll always be grateful for its legacy, because when I learned a publisher had accepted my manuscript, I also heard that the 27 acres was for sale, and I was able to use all of the book’s proceeds to barely make the down payment needed.
That was twenty years ago. Much later, I met Cindy, and when she sat there with me for the first time, we dreamed together about living on the hill with a family. We’ve discovered now we want to hold onto every moment — sunsets, raspberry picking and walks with our two young girls.
Our vision for The Ridge began while sitting on the front porch on summer evenings, realizing we could share what we had with other families. And, looking ahead at the inevitable growth of central Alberta, we decided we had an amazing chance to take responsibility for preserving it for later generations.
So our dream has grown beyond living here with just our girls. We’d like the chance to use the advances in green technology - rain harvesting, grey water recycling, solar panels, geo-thermal heating and more — so that other families can enjoy it too, with minimal impact on the land and no impact on ranching around us.
With this in mind, we spent three years working with an engineer to design The Ridge, a plan that fits Red Deer County’s mandate for sustainable development, and meets or exceeds all of the county’s stringent guidelines.
"Because of recent zoning changes by Red Deer County, we would be able to give a conservation designation to our non-agricultural hillside, leaving 71% of the land completely undisturbed as natural prairie, while helping take development pressure away from prime agricultural soils."
County planners have given The Ridge full recommendation, and the next step is to take the application to Red Deer County council*. We’ve set up this website so that anyone interested in the application can understand what we are trying to accomplish.
In a sense, because we'll be planning so carefully to make every home as environmentally responsible as possible, we feel this can be a pioneering project for builders and municipalities interested in minimizing the carbon footprint where pressures makes for inevitable development. But it’s more than that. With your support, Cindy and I hope we can be part of shaping a small but unique community where families together can take special care of the land.
Sigmund and Cindy