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Every Tree Matters In Forest Lakes
From the moment the first shovel hit the dirt, Terra Firma Development Corporation (TFDC), the developers of Forest Lakes, knew that sustaining the original beauty of the natural environment was key. From the majestic forests from which it is named, to the pristine lakes within the 1,700-acre development, exceptional care is given to maintain the natural ecosystems.
"We use a low-impact design strategy, which minimizes the amount of natural landscape that gets disturbed, and the trees that must be removed for construction are then repurposed as woodchips in our trail network, mulch used in our gardens and for erosion controls and even furniture at The Boathouse," says Andrew Alcorn, executive vice president.
Care is given to all the trees, plants and wildlife that call the area home. Where other developers might run amok, clear-cutting large areas of trees to save time and money, Forest Lakes sees the environment as inherently valuable — an integral part of the community.
To date, 200,000 trees alone have been saved through Forest Lakes' sustainability efforts. A large, yellow birch tree along the main road in Forest Lakes, saved from removal, is a reminder to all involved that every effort is being made, and will continue to be made, to maintain a healthy environment that continues to flourish within the residential community.
The striking, now-fully rooted tree, stands as a symbol of how nature and the growth of a flourishing development can coincide, and the importance of these features to the community. The original ditch system at the corner of Eagle View and Highland Drive ran directly through part of the tree's mature root system, threatening its survival.
"TFDC, felt so passionate about their commitment to the environment that they had a crew install a culvert and backfill around the tree with soil, instead of gravel, to give the tree a chance to re-root itself," says Alcorn. "We also re-routed the power lines around the tree. And the change was a success and the tree leaves out fully every year and withstands the wind," he adds.
Trees are not the only consideration when it comes to the development of the spectacular residential community, which includes the region's first 18-hole Nicklaus Design golf course. Forest Lakes has screened and re-used 30,000 tonnes of native topsoil on the state-of-the-
"This rock and gravel is taken to construction zones within our development and is used to create our community roads and services, golf course cart paths and other amenities," explains Alcorn.
As anyone who has ever lived near a construction zone knows, the endless transportation of materials in and out of the site can not only cause damage to the surrounding area, but also unnecessary inconvenience to existing members of the community. By using and recycling existing resources within the community, Forest Lakes has transported nearly 20,000 truckloads of these materials within the development;
Another of the more exciting initiatives Forest Lakes has taken on is its rainwater harvesting program.
"In the Woodlands neighbourhood, the 62 lots utilize rainwater harvesting, which means there is no strain on groundwater, lakes and streams and it reduces erosion, flooding and groundwater contamination,"
The developer has further built two significant resource management stations. "These are areas in our community where we store, process and recycle organic material, tree fibre, soil and rock, to create gravel, mulch, topsoil and a number of other things for our homes, golf course, roads and hiking trails," he adds.
Like the regal birch tree that signifies Forest Lakes' commitment to the environment, the developer creates homes that are thoughtfully designed to reduce energy and water consumption through careful product selection, smart design and sustainable building practices, in order to provide a healthy environment for you and your family.
As the community builds and expands into the future, the TFDC will be constantly exploring opportunities such as Net Zero and Net Positive homes and buildings, district energy sharing and solar and geothermal energy usage, to ensure they continue efforts to reduce resource consumption and improve the environment for the thousands of people that will call Forest Lakes home.
For more information and updates on the many environmental initiatives at Forest Lakes Country Club, visit forestlakes.ca (http://forestlakescountryclub.ca/