An expensive development project transforming nearly 690 hectares of woods in West Hants is preparing to launch its domestic marketing strategy, after securing investments from overseas markets.
The Forest Lakes Country Club is a resort community with a focus on bringing tourists & visitors to Nova Scotia.
The development agreement with the District of the Municipality of West Hants states the value of the proposed project totals $1 billion, with 2,700 living units.
If fully constructed, Forest Lakes would have a population greater than Liverpool on the province's South Shore.
"We're going to bring something absolutely astonishing here to Nova Scotia," said Donald Marr, one of development's main proponents.
He & his brother Bradley Marr are originally from Fredericton, & have overseen real estate developments in Spain, Brazil, Portugal & the United Arab Emirates.
"We did our due diligence [and] looked around at many different sites," Marr said.
The developers picked the West Hants site due to its natural landscape, inexpensive land & proximity to the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. The nearby airport is key, Marr says, to attract international clientele.
"No one wants to fly for two, three, four or six hours & jump in their car & drive another two or three or four," he said.
The development will include a Nicklaus Design 18-hole golf course, lakeside boat house & shopping area.
Prices for the condominiums & homes commence at around $350,000 & increase to several millions.
Marr said they have numerous investors & buyers already, mostly from Europe & Asia.
"The international money that we're bringing here is new money," he said. "It's fresh capital, fresh people, fresh ideas. So we're not circulating it from one community to another."
Proposed highway interchange
One key aspect of the project is a proposed interchange with Highway 101. Developers say they are currently in talks with the province to have the interchange built.
However, the province has yet to commit to the new infrastructure.
"The department is aware of the developer's plans & has been in talks with them over the past few years," said Brian Taylor with the Department of Transportation & Infrastructure Renewal.
"At this time, there are no agreements or approvals for the proposed interchange & it is not included in the department's five-year highway improvement plans," he said.
Taylor said it would be possible for the developers to build the interchange themselves, to specifications that meet provincial standards.
Currently, the main access point to the site is from Highway 1, using the exit from Highway 101 near Mount Uniacke.
The first residents of the initial phase of the development are scheduled to move in by the end of next year.
The golf course on site is slated to open in 2017.