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Canmore, Alberta, Canada

At Spring Creek, the names for its projects embody the vibrant composition of the Bow Valley’s natural ecosystem, where at its living centre is the persistent beat of the heart.

Nobody knows persistence quite like Spring Creek’s president Frank Kernick, whose vision for these lands goes back to 1990, when he returned to his hometown of Canmore from Calgary to work with his father and uncle.

Thirty-one years later, Spring Creek has surpassed 50% of its master plan development goal. It’s an accomplishment marked by challenges and milestones for Frank and his team, including the purchase of the land from his family in 2002, having the master plan approved by Canmore town council in 2004, and riding out the economic devastation of the 2008 recession.

Throughout it all, Frank’s vision has persisted. He sees “a beautiful community with amazing landscaping and stunning walking trails,” and environmental and social integrity. Five percent of residential housing at Spring Creek is contributed to Canmore Community Housing’s Vital Homes program, and this year Spring Creek was recognized for its sustainable development practices as a BUILT GREEN® Community.

“The reality is, if you have a vision and you have something that you’re so dedicated to and believe in so much, and the people around you know you’re dedicated, they do rally around you, and as a team, you push through it,” says Frank. “And through a recession, which stalled this project for 4-5 years, I never laid off anyone. I kept my staff. We came out of it because we stayed together as a team. We never sacrificed quality.”

Such enormous setbacks could make even the strongest of folks call it quits. But the collective heart of Spring Creek was stronger. Frank credits Vijay Domingo, Spring Creek vice-president for many years, with keeping things positive.

“Neither he nor I ever were really stressed. We laughed every day – we’re going to make it through this. Vijay has such a positive demeanour – the recession was hard on everyone. It took real estate down across the world. We got caught and we had to survive and dig through it,” Frank says. “We just dug deeper and worked harder.”

And so they did. Coming out of the recession in 2013, Spring Creek got back on the path to constructing one new building a year. Phase 2 is near-complete, and Phase 3 is underway, with building names connected to how the watersheds function and impact life in the Bow Valley ecosystem.

It starts in the Rocky Mountains, in the glaciers, and that’s where Phase 1 projects get their names: Glacier Rock Lodge, Moraine Ridge, and Creekstone Mountain Lodge.

As the glacier melts, water trickles down to the rivers and streams, nourishing plants and vegetation. An island on its own, Spring Creek is surrounded by two spring-fed creeks; a contributor to the ecosystem.

And so the naming of Phase 2 works in recognizing the trees and plant life of the area: White Spruce Lodge, Jack Pine Lodge, The Tamarack, and The Arnica Lodge. Continuing in this theme, Phase 3 is named for the animals engaged within the ecosystem: The Black Swift Lodge and Mountain Lynx Lodge.

Up next is The Beat, a pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare at the center of the community. Envisioned to be the rhythm and heart beat of Spring Creek, this is where generations of residents will connect. A tranquil pond will anchor the park feature, offering the perfect ice skating venue come winter.

The Beat will be the vibrant focal point of the neighbourhood – the heart of it all.

“Without a heart, you have no life. The heart is going to be the life of the community. That’s the meeting place, the grocery store, the convenience store, the life of the community,” says Frank.

And the beat goes on.

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