For about a year and a half I lived in Rocky Ridge. The development is on the northwestern edge of Calgary with a spectacular view of the mountains and the sunsets as well. City limits are in sight as well, with 12 Mile Coulee Road dilineating the division between Calgary and the municipality of Bearspaw, which has often been the subject of annexation rumours.
Like the view from the window, however, Rocky Ridge is much more oriented toward the west and to Cochrane than it is to the rest of Calgary.
Linked into the rest of the city, however, by the transit system the neighbourhood is indeed still part of Calgary, though perhaps only because the amenities of the Rocky Ridge area are so limited. There is a strip mall nearby with a supermarket, gas station, Subway shop, video store hairdresser and dentist. All of these are about a 5-7 minute walk away. The nearest coffee shop to escape to is about a 55 minute walk away, hardly close enough to invite a regular visit.
Rocky Ridge is getting a bit more connected to the rest of the city. The C-Train line has moved a little closer to the development and the Ring Road when it is completed is also supposed to make things more accessible as well. However, people are unhappy with the changes to road access that will occur as a result. The design of the community, is focused around car use and that fact that there is no public school anywhere in the area, makes everyone's day and commute that much longer as they have to get their kids to school as well.
When looking at a community like this and assessing its remoteness from the rest of the city it is easy to jump on the sustainability bandwagon by talking about how much time and energy is spent commuting. Too easy. Other aspects of sustainability, however, would relate to the actual survival of the community. Many of the people live where they do because they indeed want to get away from it all. But how much time do these suburbanites actually have to enjoy their surroundings. Without the time to put into their homes and their community, how close-knit will these communities become? Will people in this community be as attentive to their communities needs as residents in downtown neighbourhoods? These questions raise the more significant issues about sustainability in these parts of the city.