By Harley Richards - Red Deer Advocate
Published: October 22, 2008 8:35 PM
Updated: October 22, 2008 9:53 PM
OLDS — Groundwork is well underway on a business park that will be the first phase of a 4,000-acre development east of town.
Netook Crossing Business Park is being carved out of a 143-acre parcel southwest of the junction of highways 2 and 27. OPUS Building Canada Inc. is currently doing site-grading and installing underground services for about 30 lots, which range in size from 2.5 to five acres.
“It will be available for development next spring,” said Terry Johnston, vice-president of development with OPUS.
About half the lots, which are zoned light industrial and highway commercial, have been sold, said Johnston. Proposed uses include the sale of agricultural equipment, automobiles and recreational vehicles, as well as self-storage, industrial, construction and oilfield servicing businesses.
The business park falls within the Netook Crossing area structure plan, which Mountain View County approved recently. The plan area extends from Olds to 1.6 km east of Hwy 2, and 3.2 km in both directions from Hwy 27.
In addition to commercial and industrial development, the plan designates 1,100 acres for residential use.
“Those are small country residential lots — down to half an acre,” said Doug Plamping, the county’s chief administrative officer.
“We’re looking for a fair amount of green space to remain. We definitely want to have a rural feel to the area.”
Netook Crossing will rely on the Town of Olds for water and sewer services, said Plamping.
“There is municipal tax-sharing with the town in return for that servicing,” he said, adding that the area structure plan was developed with considerable input from the town.
“We had a member of the Town of Olds sit on our area structure plan committee.”
The area, said Plamping, is important to both municipalities because it’s the main entrance to Olds and has tremendous potential.
“The Hwy 2 and 27 interchange is the busiest interchange between Airdrie and Red Deer.”
Johnston confirmed that those high traffic volumes were a big reason Netook Crossing appealed to his company. Its proximity to Calgary is another plus.
“We’re 45 minutes from the Calgary airport . . . and certainly our land prices are probably a third of what they would be in Calgary these days.”
That said, Johnston estimated that two-thirds of the buyers he has been dealing with are from the Olds or Mountain View County area. He added that the town has a number of features — including Olds College, a growing retail base and quality health care facilities — that make continued growth there likely.
In addition to the land it is currently developing, OPUS owns the adjoining 150-acre parcel to the west.
“We’ll make some decisions on that next year, but it would be available for development in 2010, 2011,” said Johnston.
Plamping anticipates that four quarters of Netook Crossing will be under development within three years.
“We actually have a developer on the north side of Hwy 27 who’s looking at developing four (quarters), which will be partially a business park and partially a residential area.
“They would be applying for approvals next year.”
He added that OPUS’s success in selling lots in Netook Crossing Business Park bodes well for the pace of development.
Materials produced by the county say the name Netook was derived from the Blackfoot term “nee-tuck-kis,” which means “lone pine tree.” It refers to a landmark tree that once stood in the area and previously inspired the names of Lonepine Creek, Lone Pine Hall, Lone Pine School District and Lone Pine Stopping House.
Canadian Pacific Railway also named a local siding Netook.
Contact Harley Richards at email@example.com