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Making the move to Renfrew County

Growing number of area residents opting to live just outside the city in the Ottawa Valley

A couple and their dog sit at Eagle's Nest in Calabogie
A couple and their dog sit at Eagle's Nest in Calabogie

For many busy professionals, time away from the city only comes on weekends in the summer, when they can escape to a cottage or go camping.

But a growing number of people have found an alternative. Putting down roots in the County of Renfrew affords professionals the chance to live close to nature without limiting themselves for work.

“Over the past decade, many local and Ottawa developers have seen the opportunity in Renfrew County,” says Alastair Baird, the county’s manager of economic development services.

Many choose to live in the county and commute or telecommute to work in Ottawa, especially those who work in Ottawa’s western neighbourhoods. Baird also points to DND’s move to the west end of the city as a cause for increased interest in the County.

Among the developers working to grow the region is Leo Hall, who serves as the president of Barrett Chute Inc.

The firm’s subdivision is a stone’s throw from Calabogie Peaks Resort, one of the region’s premier ski hills. Comprised of 53 estate properties – half of which face onto the Madawaska River – Barrett Chute offers luxurious cottage or home living on lots that are each more than an acre in size. Though the purchaser must build their own home on the lots, Barrett Chute has developed the otherwise untamed properties to include road access, hydro hookups and high-speed fibre optic lines.

“Our idea is to provide the raw material to people from which to build their vision,” says Hall.

He explains that approximately 80 per cent of those who have purchased lots to date come from urban residents looking to live closer to nature.

In Arnprior, especially since Highway 417 has extended through and beyond the town, local developer McEwan Homes and others have been busy with numerous new subdivisions, offering everything from beautiful townhomes to spacious two-storey homes on estate lots. Arnprior has seen a 23 per cent increase in population over the past 10 years, with families coming to take advantage of the picturesque small town atmosphere and affordable homes while still enjoying the proximity to Ottawa.

Similarly, Jennifer Murphy – who serves as both the Mayor of Bonnechere Valley and the Warden for the County – says she’s seen an influx of young families into the region.

In addition to the natural beauty and outdoor activities available in the region, homeowners in the County of Renfrew typically enjoy lower housing prices and property taxes in contrast to Ottawa, along with unparalleled quality of life.

“We have everything you need to live, work, play and really enjoy your life in the County of Renfrew,” says Murphy.

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