Elbow Valley was developed as a very special and unique community that has the benefits of highest architectural standards, neighbours and preserves the spaces and natural setting. In this extraordinary setting there is a community of rare quality. Drawing on the best traditions of architecture, and looking to the land itself for design and inspiration - its forms, colours, its plants and materials - it is a community in harmony with its natural setting. Selected as Canada's Best Community, two years running this is a special place that willstand on its owner for years to come.
History of the Land
People have made their homes in Elbow Valley for more than 2,000 years, drawing the waters of the Elbow River and finding shelter and sustenance in the valley environment. Archaeological studies have revealed a total of 19 prehistoric native encampment sites in the area, including a buffalo killsite and a processing campsite. Four of these have been deemed by Alberta Culture to be culturally significant. In the design of the new community, these have been protected by incorporating them into the natural open space areas or have been archaeologically studied, excavated and mapped, with the artifacts preserved for future generations.
The buffalo killsite is located on the steep, higher batiks of the valley, with its associated processing camp nearby on the Elbow River. The associated processing camp is nearby on the Elbow River. Three other significant sites are found along Lott Creek.
These camps are thought to have been used for the processing of bison, lookouts for spotting game, and various other campsite activities. The two Lott Creek sites have been incorporated into the Lott Creek Natural Interpretive Area.
In 1886 the Elbow Valley site along what is now Lott Creek was homesteaded by Henry Allan Gray. After some years on the land, Gray left, later to become the first Anglican Bishop of Edmonton. The property was sold to Stephen Lott, after whom the creek is named.
This history of human settlement is a small part of the much larger geological history of the area, back to the time when glacial ice covered the area.
"Elbow Valley - a country retreat on the west edge of Calgary conserving and respecting nature." When you first visit Elbow Valley, you will notice: its tranquility, its subtle colours and the rich variety of its landscape. In its enduring hills and timeless rivers it seems a land of constants. However, it is also a land of change; colours shift with the passing of a cloud and with the passing of the seasons. There is in Elbow Valley the potential for a new kind of community designed in harmony with this splendid landscape, its streets embracing the peaceful valleys and its homes drawing on the land itself for their form and detail.
The history of this property is important in our vision for Elbow Valley. The traditions of life in the Alberta foothills - the sense of respect for nature and a cherishing community - can guide us in creating a new community in the same spirit. The Elbow Valley philosophy has evolved over a period of many years. Rooted in a deep sense of admiration for the land, it has grown into a vision for a new kind of community, built in harmony with the natural environment and drawing on the best traditions of life in the Alberta foothills. A series of Open Space Guidelines have been written to relate the history of Elbow Valley, and to explain our vision for the new community - its design, its amenities developers and residents have worked hard to make this a community like no other. Elbow Valley is to be intimate community of neighbors, embracing the natural beauty and splendor of the land and continuing the heritage of foothills settlements. The past and future residents appreciate all that this land has to offer as a place for people to live, learn and grow.
Elbow River and Lott Creek
The Elbow River and Lott Creek have, over time, shaped the dynamic topography and nourished the native vegetation that provide the superb natural setting for Elbow Valley. Conservation of these waterways and associated landscapes is a primary objective of the development plans for the community. Water quality in the waterways was safeguarded by careful erosion control during the construction period and by revegetation of natural grass, shrub and tree cover.
The heavily forested woodlands of the north facing slopes are among the most prominent natural and visual amenities of the site. A mixture of Aspen, Spruce and Willow blanket the slopes and provide shelter for the area's diverse wildlife. Conservation of the slopes is vital in achieving the vision for Elbow Valley.
On the north facing slopes above Lott Creek the home sites are large with an average size of 2 acres. The homes are carefully sited to retain the majority of native tree and shrub growth. There are three primary amenity areas in the Elbow Valley Community for the enjoyment of residents: the recreational lake areas, the community lands and the Bishop Gray Interpretive area. The recreational lake areas include trimary lakes (Elbow Valley Lake, Fisherman's Lake and Clearwater Lake), a portion of Lott Creek, generous park lands and a variety of ponds. They are located with in the flood way/flood fringe area south and north of highway 8, where postions of the land have been previously disturbed. The three lakes, each approximately 15 acres in size, are landscaped with trees, grasses and shrubs to create a natural edge. Many groves of Aspen have been protected near the shores, and new landscaping has been designed to incorrporate these and to blend with the natural environment beyond. The lakes support a variety of recreational uses including swimming, skating, canoeing and rowing (no motors please). Fishermans Lake is stocked with trout and it will sustain fish year -round. The neighborhood parks and trail system circles the lakes and then reaches out to connect all parts of the community. Every home has nearby access to the trails. Parks are furnished with benches, picnic tables and children's play structures. Trails have been carefully located to allow full appreciation of Elbow Valley Landscape, while at the same time protecting the delicate natural ecosystems.
The Community Land, just west of Elbow Valley Lake, is the location of the Residents Club and recreational facilities. The Residents club includes social gathering areas, washrooms, kitchens, as well as office space and storage. In addition, there is a beach area and boat house stocked with canoes, paddle boards, kayaks and paddle boats, as well as tennis courts, a sports court, play structures, a picnic area and parking for residents use. The exact use of this area was determined by Elbow Valley residents themselves. Through the "Communities Forever Program" under which funds from each lot purchase were allocated specifically for recreational developments in the area.
The Elbow Valley Residents Club covers its expenses through collection of a monthly fee from homeowners in the community and covers common expenses such as:
Snow Clearance from all roads and pathways in the community,
Landscaping of common Lands,
Homeowner garbage removal,
Private Security for the community,
Administration and Management of the community through a General Manager and staff,
Insurance for commonly held assests, general liability insurance and Directors and Officers liability for Board Members and Committee Volunteers,
Municipal taxes for Common Lands,
Some social activities,
Professional fees for legal and audit,
Annual Budgets and Audited Financials Statements are provided to Homeowners annually.