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Lions Roar : May 2006
Positioned on the southern reaches of a magnificent body of water known as Mahone Bay is a picturesque coastal town of the same name. A Treasure Since 1754, Mahone Bay (pop 1200) is one of the most popular and well known seaside towns in Atlantic Canada, renowned for its fine sailing, natural beauty, seafaring history and classic, functional architecture. The people, a mix of Nova Scotians and ‘come from aways’, are wonderful. It’s here in Mahone Bay that Hawthorn Hill, Canada’s first green neighbourhood, became a reality, the result of strength of conviction and hard work by developer/R2000 builder Ian Startup and his late wife, the naturopath Margo Kleiker. The Vision — Ian and Margo began planning for Hawthorn Hill back in 1995. Their idea was simple: to build healthy homes in a healthy environment using the best energy efficient housing technology and materials from renewable resources. As a practicing naturopath in Mahone Bay, Margo was keenly aware of a wide range of environmental sensitivities and respiratory problems. At the same time Ian, through contact with colleagues in the R2000 program, became engaged in an ongoing debate as to why certain areas of Canada seemed to have higher incidences of environmental illness. Together Ian and Margo developed a list of questions she asked her patients about their homes and living environments. Not surprisingly, a pattern of problems with air quality, mold, excessive moisture, prevalence of highly processed building materials and pesticide use emerged. It seemed only logical to concentrate on homes and home sites that would be safe and provide a healthy alternative. Hawthorn Hill — Hawthorn Hill is an environmentally responsible neighbourhood designed with a focus on community, respect for the environment, efficient healthy homes and healthy lifestyles. Encompassing a land mass of 45 acres, of which 15 acres will remain green space, at completion Hawthorn Hill will comprise up to sixty homes. A ten minute walk from the town’s is served by public road & sewer systems and surrounded by walking trails, parks, green space and open fields. Protective covenants administered by the lot owners’ association will ensure the integrity of the outdoor areas as well as the green space. It is worth noting that the Town of Mahone Bay has a policy of prohibiting the use of pesticides on property owned and maintained by the Town. The lands straddle a drumlin (a large hill pushed up by ancient glacial action) running east/west which facilitates a road and lot layout that maximizes the opportunity for solar gain. Phase I (70% sold) includes the first 20 lots; servicing (road & sewer work) for the balance is expected to commence summer 2006. Lots are roughly 100 feet of road frontage with depths of 100 to 230 feet; some are forested, some level, others sloped and preferences vary depending on the type of home that best suits. (Assistance in choosing a lot is available as are home design services and a list of R2000 builders in the area.) Phase I lots are available for immediate construction or for those considering a lifestyle change in a few year’s time, it is possible to reserve a lot in Phase II, locking in at today’s pricing. Sales & marketing are being handled by Broker Sheila Sinnott (sinnott@1novascotia. com) of Land & Sea Real Estate. Incidentally, the lots are reasonably priced: from $35,000 to $55,000 Cdn. (sales tax of 15% applies). And unlike many housing projects, there is no time pressure to build your home before you’re ready to enjoy it. Hawthorn Hill homes are not experimental but incorporate the latest in proven building science principals, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly materials. Choosing safer building materials need not add cost to a home. Like food, highly processed building materials contain more chemicals, many of which are dangerous to the human organism and the environment. Choices like tinted plaster instead of painted drywall, wood in place of particle board or plywood, shingles or clapboard as opposed to vinyl siding, ceramic and linoleum rather than wall to wall carpet and vinyl flooring are a few examples. Combine a well insulated, air tight building envelope with a superior heat recovery ventilation system and these homes become both energy efficient and healthy. All the materials used are considered for their “embodied energy” that is the cost to produce, transport and dispose of or reuse materials at the end of their useful life. Consideration is also given to design aesthetics - things like proper roof pitch & architectural detail. Although each is distinctly different, the existing homes at Hawthorn Hill all look like they belong architecturally on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. The houses are a reflection of the needs of their owners. Existing lot owners vary widely from young families to retirees though all share a common interest in a healthy home & lifestyle, energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. More about Mahone Bay and the South Shore — Marvellous beaches, a temperate climate and and abundant sunshine are a few of the best features of the area. Home to the Wooden Boat Festival and the famous three churches, Mahone Bay offers a wide variety of amenities within walking distance including shopping, medical & dental clinics, accommodations, fine dining, galleries & craft shops, antique shops, far mers’ markets and cafés. Schools include the Bayview Community School (primary to grade 9), a Waldorf school and a French school; the local high school, Parkview, (a 20 minute bus ride) is one of two in Nova Scotia that offer the international baccalaureate curriculum. The town has a small public swimming pool, tennis courts and an excellent deep water anchorage for boats up to 75’ long. Historic Lunenburg (a Unesco site) and Bridgewater, where the regional hospital is located, are each within a 15 minute drive. Mahone Bay is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Halifax International Airport and 45 minutes from downtown An Ecology Minded Community in Nova Scotia Hill shops, the waterfront and the ShambhalaCenter, Hawthorn Shambhala Center Halifax and the Halifax . ADVERTISEMENT