I have owned and lived on this land since 1988, and been operating Hummingbird Haven Bed & Breakfast since 2003 where we offer a peaceful, rural experience to many guests from a variety of countries. At times we have had as many as 20 guests staying for as long as two weeks while they engaged in training exercises; more often we host family groups who are in the area exploring. Expanding to a Country Inn facility provides us with the opportunity for a change of name; we changed our name to Chinook Ridge Bed & Breakfast, eventually becoming Chinook Ridge Lodge & Golf Course. As well as expanding our guest accommodation capacity we looked for ways to provide them with activities that would be in keeping with our quiet rural setting, provide diversification to the environment and the local economy, and add social value to the community.
One of the most important goals for me, as a social worker, is to strengthen the social fabric and connectivity between people and within communities by providing both space and opportunity for multiple generations of families and other groups to spend time together building relationships, conversing and enjoying healthy, outdoor and indoor activities or engaging in pure, undisturbed quiet reflection. The game of golf was an activity that stood out as the recreation of choice for this purpose. Here, golf will be the medium – not the message. Paved cart pathways offer multiple diverse uses in off-season for biking, jogging, and rollerblading. Grassy meadows are prime areas for any “kite-flying kids at heart”. In winter these cart paths can be groomed for cross-country skiing, frozen ponds can be used for skating and hills used for tobogganing. These are quiet, multi-generational, non-violent activities where people can engage in good, in-depth, and stimulating conversations while enjoying the peaceful, healthy, outdoor environment and all its wild inhabitants.
It goes almost without saying that people who are well connected to others are happier, better adjusted and less likely to engage in anti-social or criminal behaviour. They are more resilient and able to create and sustain vibrant communities. There are few venues where inter-generational relationships can be seeded, nurtured, and strengthened. The advent of ‘quick’ portable communication tools like email and text messaging and the adrenalin rush of computer games, by their very nature seem to impede the development of good relationships with deep meaning. Chinook Ridge wants to put social communication back into the inter-generational equation and provide a level playing field for people of any age. I was fascinated to learn just how significant access to nature is to human beings. There is current medical research that documents how hospital patients who are able to enjoy a pleasant view of nature heal faster than those patients without such a view. My philosophy is – Why wait until you are ill before engaging in the restorative benefits of a health inducing milieu?
We began working hand-in-hand with the highly skilled staff at both the County of Rockyview and the various departments within the Alberta Government whose function is to protect the interests of neighbours, clients and the environment. We sought their assistance upfront and this has been incredibly valuable in shaping our multi-faceted goals. I am happy to report that their wise and clear council helped us mold and shape our final application. Their primary focus is for the betterment and common good of all Rockyview County residents and Albertans.
Chinook Ridge’s location is only 30 minutes from Calgary, Airdrie and Cochrane. The land is on a high ridge with 180 degree views of the Rocky Mountains. The terrain consists of high vistas, knolls, dips, pockets, sandstone outcroppings and a significant valley. Elevations range from a high of 4,035 feet to a low of 3960 feet. Overall, the land slopes predominately to the west with one small area that slopes to the north. The construction of the golf course will simply require some exaggeration of the land’s natural features – increasing the size of the knolls and dips and developing water features and sand bunkers in the pockets. The terrain is more suited to a golf course, not so advantageous for farmland. It has tree groves, sand-stone outcroppings, and several seasonal and year round marshy areas.