News

Choosing Canada: newcomers build community


Cornerbrook, in Calgary’s northeast, ‘is accessible to everything we need’

Article content

Alok Sagar Aetukuri came to Canada from India in 2009 on a student visa. He arrived alone, finding it hard to settle in a new country. After graduation, he found full-time employment in Calgary and, as he became more familiar with his new life, he entertained the possibility of staying.

Advertisement

Article content

“I worked hard to achieve success,” he says. “Studying and working in this beautiful, multi-cultural country feels like home now. It’s comfortable.”

Wanting to share his Canadian life with someone special, Aetukuri returned to India and agreed to an arranged marriage with Bhavya Sajja, who eventually joined him back in Calgary. Now with a young daughter, the happy couple are building their first home in Cornerbrook, a community in Calgary’s far northeast quadrant.

Aetukuri and Sajja are just two of the 250,000 immigrants who arrive in Canada every year. India is the No. 1 birth country of recent immigrants, followed by the Philippines, China and Syria, according to Canadian market research firm Ipsos Public Affairs. The company’s CEO, Darrell Bricker, writes in his 2020 book titled Next, that immigration has become a necessity. With Canada’s declining birth rate and aging population, immigration is what will sustain the economy.

Advertisement

Article content

Bricker observes that since 2011, and for the first time since 1972, immigration is highest in the Prairie provinces. Immigrants are showing up well resourced, with 48 per cent of economic immigrants arriving as skilled workers. They are settling in communities that are close to amenities, transit routes and employment hubs. Newcomers will soon represent the majority in suburban populations.

Calgary has the fourth largest immigrant population in Canada at close to a half a million people. The city’s immigrant suburbanites are like most suburbanites. They’re commuters with kids, mortgages and private-sector jobs who want an affordable home in a community with like-minded people. This trend even applies to less-affluent immigrants who often find suitable options in the suburbs with condos or secondary suites, where there are necessary community connections, Bricker writes.

Advertisement

Article content

The 2021 census reveals that since 2016, Calgary’s most robust population bumps have been in new communities on the city’s suburban rim. The new communities in the northeast, including Saddle Ridge, Savanna, Homestead, Skyview Ranch, Redstone, Cornerstone and Cornerbrook, saw a 94.6 per cent increase, from 27,138 to 52,806.

When the highly educated Sajja arrived in 2018, she found employment in the human resources department of an IT company. After five years of renting a downtown apartment, she and Aetukuri, a dispatch manager, were ready to build a new home out of the inner-city. They liked the northwest, but decided to build in Cornerbrook, a small community north of Country Hills Boulevard N.E. and west of Stoney Trail.

Advertisement

Article content

“The northeast is accessible to everything we need. Being an immigrant, we wanted ‘back home’ groceries, which are very easy for us to find here. It has good green space and I feel like most of our community people live here. That’s how we are comfortable,” says Sajja.

Their respective parents make the 11,000-kilometre trek from India for extended visits as often as they can. The couple wanted to build a single-family home with a main floor master bedroom and attached ensuite to ensure their parents were comfortable. The Raeya by Trico Homes, an ample 1,802-square-foot model, has a flex space on the main floor to accommodate that option. The three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom laned home has additional space for family in the bonus room upstairs and is priced from the high $500,000s.

Advertisement

Article content

Cornerbrook is a boutique community developed by WestCreek Developments. It will have just 1,500 homes built around a central park. Every home, whether it’s a front-garage model, laned home or duplex, will have access to green space. WestCreek and its builder group have a mandate to offer distinctive floor plans for diverse buyers with an emphasis on spice kitchens, secondary suites, side entrances and main floor bedrooms.

The developer has more than 40 years of experience shaping suburban neighbourhoods in Calgary, including the award-winning communities of Legacy and Wolf Willow. While Cornerbrook caters to a unique population, people are people no matter where they come from.

“When WestCreek designs communities, it’s a long process. We adjust as we go, bringing on new phases, parks and community amenities. We do research before a community opens and then reach back out with surveys and conversations with customers as we grow. That feedback helps us design new spaces as time goes on,” says marketing manager Kalida Manarin.

“While some of the specifics in the community may change, our general approach has not changed. We strive to create opportunities for people to come out of their homes, to come together and literally ‘create a community.’ Our job as a developer is to make this easy for everyone in the community, so having an influx of immigrants doesn’t really change our process.”

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

close