Not just nature’s predators, but some 800 fortunate homeowners, call the community of Predator Ridge home today. Here’s how Wesbild Okangan made this sensitively managed slice of Okangan so special.
By Nikki Bayley
If you live at Predator Ridge, every way home is the scenic route. Sandwiched neatly between Kalamalka and Okanagan Lakes, the resort turnoff from the Highway lifts you high into unspoiled grasslands, where mule deer nibble grass and eagles wheel overhead. It’s so sensitively landscaped that, on approach, it’s hard to believe anything man-made is up here–let alone some 800 homes, 36 holes of championship golf and an impressive raft of leisure amenities. Predator Ridge may be one of B.C.’s more upscale neighbourhoods, but it respects its rural roots and wild surroundings.
“I don’t think there’s another project like this in Canada that has such a comprehensive offering across such a large space,” grins Brad Pelletier, senior vice-president of Wesbild Okanagan, which owns and operates Predator Ridge Resort. The onetime ranch land was first envisioned as a golf course as early as 1979, and the first elements of the current lifestyle community debuted in 1991. “But so much of our land will never be used–maybe even as much as two-thirds will never see development; we are so careful to maintain the rural charm and protect sensitive areas.”
Indeed, on a tour around the development, I spy everything from turtle ramps for the resident population of Western Painted Turtles (who love to bask in sunny ponds and crawl groomed fairways) to bird-and-bee-friendly lavender meadows. Landscapes are a pleasing mix of immaculately manicured greenery and wildflower-sprigged grassy verges. The housing–a blend of Craftsman, evolved Prairie Moderns and contemporary rancher/farmhouse hybrid styles–blends beautifully into the landscape.
Although widely known for its golf courses, there’s so much more to Predator Ridge. The community comprises 1,200 acres of land, shared between owned residences (many of them occupied full time) and a resort, with a rental pool of cottages and condos for guests wishing to dip a toe into the Okanagan lifestyle. “When people come and stay here, that’s when the magic happens,” says Pelletier. “Everyone who stays in the resort interacts with some of the homeowners here, and they are always so passionate about living here; they know how much we do for the community.”
Golf isn’t even the main thing that attracts people to move here: only around 30 per cent of residents belong to the golf club, and the number-one attraction is in fact Predator Ridge’s 15-kilometres of mixed-use trails (with a connector linking to the 40-plus kilometres of trails in nearby Ellison Provincial Park), Pelletier says that what Predator Ridge does best to inspire passion amongst its residents is deliver community, “The biggest fear that most people have is when they move is how to re-establish social relationships. What we do so well is bring people together — And it works!”
With more than 1,000 programmed events each year, the Predator Ridge community is certainly an engaged one. While touring the main amenities hub, I see a well-equipped fitness centre with a lap pool, shop and a patio that begs for post-workout drinks. On the noticeboard, there are schedules for hikes, yoga and wine socials. Up at the newly built tennis and pickleball courts (covered under all-weather bubbles for year-round use), there’s also a bike shop with pros in attendance, to help residents crank their mountain biking skills to the next level. Bringing zen balance to high-energy pursuits, new yoga platforms under shade sails offer stunning views over the lakes and mountains, as scents of spruce and wafts of lavender mingle from the nearby hillside.
With zoning for 1,200 more housing units, Predator Ridge may grow into its acreage over the next years. According to Pelletier, that number may actually be less: “The future of Predator Ridge is about continuing to invest in the lifestyle choices of our homeowners, who are seeking an enriched year-round lifestyle–which is exactly what they enjoy here.”