Heritage Pointe

Attention Golfers: Here’s a place to call home!

Heritage Pointe can be easily and accurately described as any golfer’s dreamland. Nestled within the beautiful scenery of Alberta’s Foothills and bordering the city of Calgary, you can literally live at this golf course.

The concept certainly peaked our interest at CBJ, so we took the opportunity to connect with Heritage Pointe’s CEO, Carol Oxtoby,  Development Manager, Ted Stack and Director of Golf, John Wilson, to learn more about this golf and residential haven.

CBJ: Tell us about more about Heritage Pointe.
Carol Oxtoby: Heritage Pointe Properties Inc. is a land development company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. The company began operations in Calgary in the late 1980s with a mandate to acquire and develop land. Our flagship project is Heritage Pointe, which is renowned for its world-class golf course and award-winning community.

Heritage Pointe is now home to 687 families with amenities such as a 30-hole signature golf course, a 28-acre manmade lake and a commercial/retail centre with boutique shops and services.

The final stage of the community—Artesia at Heritage Pointe—has approvals in place and is scheduled to start construction in 2011. Once completed, Heritage Pointe will be home to more than 1000 families and will continue to be acknowledged by many as a jewel in the Municipal District of Foothills.

CBJ: How did the company get started?
CO: Heritage Points is a subsidiary of Upper Lakes Group Inc. (ULGI), a privately owned Canadian company in the marine transportation and marine services sector. In 1989, the decision was made to diversify ULGI with the acquisition of over 1000 acres of land just south of Calgary.  

The vision was to create a golf course and residential community that would set itself apart from the more urban living environments available in Calgary at the time.  With the support of ULGI Chairman John D. Leitch and his trusted advisors, Heritage Pointe has evolved into one of the Calgary region’s premium addresses.

CBJ: As the economy rose and fell, did the initial vision or philosophy ever change over time?
CO: One of the keys to success in the land development business is to “stay focused on the vision.”

In the 1980s, the economy in Alberta was very challenging and the recovery period was long and difficult, and the 1990s in Canada was characterized by lackluster consumer confidence.  ULGI, however, was encouraged by the prevailing entrepreneurial spirit in the Calgary region and the recovery of the oil and gas industry. ULGI concluded that there was indeed an opportunity to proceed with its visionary project.  In 1989, the land acquisition was completed and, in 1990, construction commenced on the golf course. By 1992, the utility companies commenced operation and the first model homes were opened for public viewing in late summer of that year.  

Although slow to start, the project gained momentum year after year, and the vision remained steadfast. In 1997, the project achieved great success with the support of the marketing initiative: “The Street of Dreams.” This campaign, coupled with an improved economy and steadfast vision, resulted in Heritage Pointe achieving the necessary momentum to propel the project into a new and successful decade.

CBJ: To what client base does Heritage Pointe cater?
Ted Stack: From a residential perspective, Heritage Pointe caters to families with children of all ages, as well as empty nesters who want to live in an upscale, country setting that offers custom designed homes, outstanding recreation amenities, large estate lots and space to enjoy life.

John Wilson: As for golfers, the club is open for public play. We offer 27 pristine holes of golf with three Ron Garl-designed courses that meander through the Pine Creek Valley. Heritage Pointe has been continuously recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 public courses since its opening in 1992, and it remains a favorite for those who demand challenging greens and manicured fairways.  

Playing privileges have been packaged and designed for virtually every golfer—whether personal, family or corporate, and regardless of skill level.  The Golf Academy, with three dedicated holes, separates the putting green, short game pitching and bunker hazards for those learning to golf and those wanting to fine tune their game.
We also host a number of corporate events, weddings and charity golf tournaments. Events are a specialty of ours! The management and staff pride themselves on executing flawless tournaments.  Having 27 holes of golf and flexible event space enables the club to cater to a variety of functions, and our food and customer service is second to none.

CBJ: To what do you attribute Heritage Pointe’s success?
TS: I would say the location and character of the lands. Heritage Pointe Properties Inc. has simply capitalized on Mother Nature’s canvas.
Beyond the natural beauty of the land, Heritage Pointe’s success from both a golf and residential development perspective has been achieved through an unqualified commitment to quality, value and service.  These are over-used terms in today’s marketplace, but these are the hallmarks of what has made the Hamlet of Heritage Pointe unique and sought after by residents and golfers alike.

Our community designs are unique in every respect. Narrow winding roads and clustered community layouts blend beautifully with the homes constructed by award-winning and environmentally conscience builders. The Canadian Home Builders Association (Calgary Region) voted the Lake at Heritage Pointe the Community of the Year in 2005 and 2006, and like fine wine, the community continues to get better every year.

CBJ: How does your company distinguish itself from the competition?
JW: The golf course offers a unique track designed by one of North America’s premier golf course architects, Ron Garl. And even though it’s public, the quality of the golf course, facilities and staff would typically be found at an upscale, private golf club. So too with the residential enclaves—whether surrounded by golf course or lake, the quality and value of the offering is what sets Heritage Pointe apart. When compared to other golf course communities, Heritage Pointe is distinctive in terms of golf experience and family lifestyle experience.

TS: Our newest residential offering, the Ranche at Heritage Pointe, is a model of sustainable development.  The 1/3-acre lots offer more lot area than any of our local competitors.  The open spaces, both natural and created, comprise over 40 per cent of the site area. Some of the other sustainability features include natural green spaces that use recycled storm water for irrigation, and fewer street lights for direct lighting, rather than dispersed. The use of bio swales have reduced the amount of concrete which provides a more aesthetically pleasing streetscape but, more importantly, will help control sediments and run off into the overland drainage system.  In addition, the original homestead fence posts are being re-used for signage and all of the original homestead buildings were recycled and reused.  

The architectural guidelines for the Ranche promote low water-consumption landscape designs and make provisions for solar heating.  Our home owners will be offered every conceivable energy-saving device and design component in their homes, from energy saving windows to building envelope designs that virtually eliminate air exfiltration, to geothermal heating systems and master systems for controlling lighting and heat and security.

CBJ: What are some industry changes that have affected the way Heritage Pointe does business?
CO: As stewards of the land, whether we are developing new communities or operating a golf course, we are confronted on a daily basis with the challenges of satisfying a need for housing and operating a recreation amenity, while staying in balance with market and regulatory forces.

Communication and information transfer is instantaneous and voluminous. Humankind, in conjunction with governments, planning and regulatory bodies, educational institutions and policy think tanks worldwide, is guiding the evolution of the world through the internet.  How we live, where we live and what we consume in the pursuit of life is top of mind in developed nations.  Protection of our environment is critical and how the world’s finite resources are consumed is paramount in our thinking.  And through all of this, we try our utmost to maintain and promote a corporate culture that is based on integrity and quality and a willingness to embrace change.

JW: From a golf course management perspective, new occupational health and safety and WCB regulations have added new focus to how staff, and particularly seasonal staff members, are trained and supervised.  Wellness is a term that is applied to everything from menu development to searching for ways to reduce the use of chemicals on our fairways. Alcohol consumption is declining, while liability is increasing. Costs are rising, while revenue growth is constrained and competition is severe; so, finding ways of reducing costs and risk without diminishing the quality of the golf experience is key.

TS: From a land development perspective, the cost of developing land has risen dramatically as commodity prices rise. The time required to bring our products to market has increased significantly, due to regulatory and planning requirements.  “NIMBYism” is working against developers, regulators, buyers and approving authorities and will add additional cost, inefficiencies and confusion to an already constrained market place.

The lack of water is one of the more recent challenges faced by golf course owners and land developers needing water from the Bow and South Saskatchewan River basins.  A moratorium on water diversion was put in place by the Alberta Government in 2007, which is impacting (if not curtailing) land development in municipalities adjacent to the city of Calgary.  In an effort to create a long-term strategy to ensure Albertan’s have sufficient water to accommodate growth and to protect the resource, the government has initiated an in-depth review of the science of these water basins.  

One of the goals of the Province in its move towards more sustainable development is to increase the housing density in Calgary and in municipalities located adjacent to the city.  In order to accomplish this goal, adjacent municipalities require access to piped water and sanitary services which can only come about through a regional servicing plan.  

The stakeholder review process and the policies and regulations required to develop and implement these new provincial planning strategies will take several years and will directly impact on how we do business in the future.

As a stakeholder, Heritage Pointe management has undertaken to align itself with the planning and engagement process and is now more involved than ever—both corporately and through its membership in the Urban Development Institute at both the Municipal and Provincial levels.

CBJ: What are the company’s long term goals?
CO: Heritage Pointe Properties Inc. plans to develop the balance of its land holdings in the Hamlet of Heritage Pointe and is searching for opportunities in the Calgary region.  The company remains committed to its strategy of bringing to the market high-quality lifestyle communities driven by sustainable development practices.